Netflix Recommendation: “The Transfiguration”



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Posted August 11, 2017 by

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Milo (Eric Ruffin) has an obsession with vampires. Films, like Nosferatu and Let the Right One In, fill his bookshelves and his thoughts. His interest in vampires goes far beyond that, though. He has taken to identifying as one, and has even started to feed on the blood of humans. It is a coping mechanism, albeit a gruesome one, that he uses to cover up the pain of having lost both parents and being constantly bullied by other kids in his neighborhood. No one understands Milo; not even Lewis (Aaron Moten), his older brother and guardian. When he is not hunting his next victim, or watching YouTube videos of animals being butchered, Milo’s life is a dull and isolated one.

When Sophie (Chloe Levine) moves into Milo’s apartment building, everything changes for both of them. An outcast and orphan herself, Sophie understands, at least on some level, the darkness inhabiting Milo’s soul. The two quickly connect and begin to forge a friendship that blossoms into something more. Things become uncertain, though, as Milo begins to realize that his time with Sophie is pulling him away from the fantasy that he has so desperately clung to.

Writer/director Michael O’Shea does something brilliant, with his debut feature film. He makes it a film, not about supernatural bloodsuckers and their bitter duel with immortality, but about the loneliness and pain of being human. The story of Milo and Sophie, and their coping with tragic loss and the unfamiliar struggle of entering adulthood, is framed by gritty imagery of low-income life in New York. The two young lovers must deal, not only with their inner turmoil, but the constant violence happening in the bleak corner of the city they live in.

Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine are both excellent as Milo and Sophie. They have an organic on-screen chemistry, that O’Shea captures brilliantly. Even with all of the movie’s violence and tension, it is the quiet moments that Milo and Sophie share that make us care about what’s happening and finding out whether or not these characters have a bright future (or any future for that matter) ahead. Ruffin and Levine’s performances enable O’Shea to effectively create a horror film that explores very deep themes. He frames a heartbreaking story of humanity with the bloody violence of more traditional vamp flicks. He does so, while also tipping his hat to his film’s many vampiric influences.  Films like Martin and Let the Right One In will certainly be given inspirational credit, but The Transfiguration maintains its own identity and is one of the better horror films I have seen this year.




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