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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Transfiguration


Starring: Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine
Distributor: Thunderbird Releasing
RRP: £21.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 14 August 2017

Milo is a 14 year-old boy who lives with his older brother since his mother took her own life. He is obsessed with vampires, living and breathing films and books. But there is a reason he needs to find out so much about them. An abused, self-harming loner, neighbour Sophie sees Milo as a kindred spirit. Milo seems at times blasé about being with her but, although he likes her, he is reticent to form too much of an attachment. You see, he has a plan...

The arrival of films such as Let the Right One In, and I Am Not a Serial Killer has encouraged filmmakers in recent years to be more inventive with old and often tired concepts. The Transfiguration has gone back to basics but simultaneously brought the vampire sub-genre into a contemporary street-class setting. Of my last batch of review material I purposefully left this one until last, simply because I wasn’t expecting much from it. I’m very pleased to report that my preconception was misplaced.

Milo is so far from being the embodiment of a standard vampire you could argue he isn’t one at all. The inference is he has caught a virus of sorts after tasting his mother’s blood (when he found her dead, having cut her own wrists). So the only established vampire trait he has is the killing and drinking of human blood; no mirrors, crucifixes, garlic, coffin or super-human strength. Although Milo is only a teenager, there is no indication he will live forever. A brief scene with the school councillor tells us he has harmed or killed animals in the past, so this could be interpreted as the early stages of a psychotic killer.

However, the viewer makes a definite sympathetic connection with Milo, due to the fact he obviously doesn’t like what he is, and he is still an underdog in his environment of local gangs and a dead end society. If you described to someone the long silences and sequences in which we see Milo walking along a street, riding on public transport, or simply reading a book, it will sound like the most ridiculously tedious film. But it’s quite the opposite. It works because you become connected to his loneliness (or wish to be alone) and aloofness. I put the film on late at night, fully intending to watch ten minutes or so before I went to bed, but before I knew it the film was over and I’d remained glued until the end. That is surely a sign of something compelling and different.

Eric Ruffin as Milo, and Chloe Levine as Sophie are both excellent. It’s like the camera isn’t there; their performances are so natural. The conclusion to the story is very cleverly thought out. But as the camera lingered on the final frames I thought it would be spoiled. I found myself wincing as I expected a superfluous reference to the stereotypical view of vampirism. This movie, however, proves too mature to fall into that trap. This is another fine writing/directorial debut – this time by Michael O’Shea – which bodes well for the future. I highly recommend The Transfiguration. Check this out; lovers of horror who are looking for something a little different will love it.

Extras include a Filmmakers’ Commentary, an entertaining Making of… documentary, and Deleted and Extended Scenes (introduced with so much enthusiasm it’s like a small child excitedly trying to relay an event and falling all over his words!).


Ty Power

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