An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Michael O’Shea’s debut feature The Transfiguration follows troubled teen Milo who hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality. A chilling portrait of violence, The Transfiguration is an atmospheric thriller set against the grit of New York City.
Straight from the gate this kid is drinking blood from some guy in a bathroom stall. WTF? This film was completely different than what I thought it would be. The Transfiguration centers around Milo, a young isolated kid who lives with his brother in a housing project in New York City. Milo is fascinated with vampire lore and when he meets the equally young and isolated Sophie, his fascination with vamp culture takes a turn.
I thought about the movie Let The Right One In while watching this film and Milo actually references it in the film. There’s a similarity there for sure but I quickly realized this was a different kind of movie. Not your traditional vampire flick, The Transfiguration captures the reality of young Milo, played by Eric Ruffin. Troubled from losing his mom and likely perhaps from the environment he’s grown up in, he finds himself enthralled in the vampire world. In the film he speaks a lot about it to his new friend Sophie, played by Chloe Levine, and although she’s clearly disturbed by it, she seems to be intrigued by him as well. Perhaps because she feels they are both outsiders and can relate to him on that level.
It seemed more and more to me that Milo was more fascinated with blood than vampires. Yes blood is part of the whole vampire environment but he wasn’t just going out at night or staying away from churches and garlic — cliche I know — he was mainly looking to drink blood. Not necessarily to kill people although he had to do that in order to drink their blood. It may have been more a power thing. Maybe he felt helpless in his regular life so he wanted to do something in which he felt like he was in charge of what was happening. The irony is that in the end Milo did not survive but unlike a vampire he did not return to the land of the living.
The acting in this film was excellent. I was very impressed by the interaction between all the characters. I also really liked the reference to Twilight. Milo says something to the effect that the vampires in Twilight were not realistic because vamps don’t sparkle. I actually chuckled at that because I completely agree.
I really don’t have any bad things to say about this film. More so I have some questions that were left unanswered. But I will go through those in my overall.
This film had an interesting premise. I was left with some questions though. Why did Milo feel he needed to drink blood? It made him sick so why keep doing it? Did he think he would turn into a vampire if he did? I looked up the definition of transfiguration and it reads as a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. Maybe that’s it. Maybe Milo was looking to become someone other than who he really was. Just looking for an escape, a way out.