THE TRANSFIGURATION (REVIEW)
Dir. Michael O’Shea
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Zombie movies may be the most popular folklore in horror but the first real imprint in horror was the fear for bloodsucking vampires. Universals first entry to the legacy of monsters was 1931’s DRACULA and from that moment on the cross fearing, silver burning, garlic allergy clichés have followed to create one of the most fearsome creatures on screen, the vampire. THE TRANSFIGURATION continues that trend and poises itself of one of the most important indie films of 2017.
Young Milo (Eric Ruffin) is surviving in a tower block with his older brother and together they survive daily life amidst their residency being taunted by local gang members. Managing by day by day, Milo’s routine seems like OCD and his passion for vampire movies is shared with newcomer Sophie (Chloe Levine). Being both a homage and foresight to the film’s undercurrent, the passion for vampires plays well for the pair and their shared thirst blurs reality and fiction and sees the innocent coming of age story turn into one of sombre resolution.
The film is so abstract of warmth yet centred around such an emotional core. The innocence portrayed by Eric Ruffin’s portrayal is a guard that makes his nature so much more shocking. While his baby face brings a charismatic charm to his youth, it masks beautifully a darker side that pulls a doppelganger for its true message that severs the heartstrings of its biggest victim, the audience.
Like a river, THE TRANSFIGURATION trickles the blood from a simple stream to a full blown ripping open of the hearts as the film balances the brutality of the life of a vampire with life in of a teen in a gang ridden apartment block. The two worlds rarely collide and as the thought of any predestination for Milo is set, the movie detours into other realms that make THE TRANSFIGURATION this year’s soul searching salute to indie cinema.
Michael O’Shea’s film is beautifully shot, the subtle soundtrack always echoes foregone events and while Milo manages to balance hero with villain, the switch is never distracting despite being worlds apart. To this, there is much credit to Eric Ruffin and he truly is a young star to watch out for.
While the film and its real motives are miles away from familiar territory for a vampire film, the
blood shed and violence is no less shocking. There aren’t many direct scenes of survival for the littlest vampire but when they come, there is a lack of any empathy from the hunter sharing a complete contrast to his survival as a teen fighting against real life.