The Transfiguration (2016) Poster

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Story is very clearly told
ladybug253523 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know how anyone could have been confused by this film, as the story was very clearly told, including the tragedy that formed our young lead's fascination and compulsion for blood. In fact I found the script's ability to fully clarify the motivations and events without fully explaining them to be a cut above the vast majority of films that try (and often fail) to do the same. Mind you, I wasn't fully engrossed in the film, I was surfing the internet at the same time, and I still found the fullness of the tale easy to fill in. All of this is possible in no small part because of the excellent acting of the main characters, and the careful plotting as the tale unfolds. The details are extremely important in this film, but given the slow pace, you don't have to maintain constant attention to catch them.

This young man has grown up in a dangerous neighborhood in which violence is a fact of life. This is a neighborhood and a family that was and is always on the precipice of disaster. This is the kind of environment that when coupled with a pre-existing propensity, creates the kind of psychopaths we have nightmares about. Coupled with the temporary absence of an older brother (apparently away at war at the time) at the time of the sudden and messy suicide of their mother, the main character of the film who found her immediately after the act-- a young teen is essentially turned into a locked and loaded weapon.

It's also apparent that the disturbed young man is in court-ordered counseling ("You know you aren't allowed to cut our sessions short"), for killing and mutilating animals and his fascination for blood and violence is known--but what most of the viewers here seem to miss, is that this significant and formative experience is what formed his fascination for vampires and compulsion to drink blood and not the other way around. Even without this knowledge being spoonfed to the audience, it is clear that he is "different"-- perhaps always different (perhaps even on the autistic spectrum) and his difference is recognized by others ("Freak!") given his inability to connect with others, and his lack of emotional reaction to even the roughest abuse (what is called a flat "affect")--but what no one knows is that his fantasies are not solely inside his imagination.

His big brother--now his sole source of support, is in turn being crushed by his own problems; the effect of their mother's suicide (their mother's bedroom is closed off and unoccupied, even as he sleeps on the couch because his little brother occupies the only other bedroom), depression, fatalism, his brother's severe issues and apparently PTSD; he isn't a psychopath, but death isn't a stranger-- and he knows he isn't able to do anything for his psychopathic little brother, except accept him as he is "no matter what happens, what he has to do to survive".....He is saddened that he can't protect his little brother; not from his violent "freinds" who threaten the neighborhood (though he no longer hangs with the gang himself), and he cannot even protect his little brother from himself--clearly he has accepted that his little brother is going to come to a bad end--but he does what he ca; given as little as that might be under the weight of his world, he still obviously loves his little brother.

This is quite a different vampire film in that the protagonist is not actually a vampire. His thirst for blood is quite real, but his compulsion to kill may be more of convenience given he seems to gain no satisfaction from the act, and in fact demonstrates a modicum of remorse--moreover, his remorse directly leads to his final acts of-- if not "redemption" in the traditional sense, in a way that at least gives his life some sort of meaning (which I won't give away) in the limited world he inhabits.

It's the blood that calls him--not the act of obtaining it-- which his physical being in fact rejects (and dare I say, his rudimentary conscience as well, that glimmer of humanity he in fact does possess behind his blank uncaring mask?); but like many serial killers, even at his young age he is trapped within the ritual he has created in an effort to control his impulses. He knows he is bound, though we don't know if he is bound by rules only his imagination has conjured, but like the best of stories, he sticks to the rules he has bound himself too--both good and bad.

This is truly a unique take on the vampire story, with very detailed and nuanced characters.
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This is not "Let The Right One In" or "Bram Stoker's Dracula," but in a good way.
badvibes33310 August 2017
I have been waiting to see this movie for a few months now. It just recently got released to DVD so I picked it up. I'm a very tough movie critic, especially when it comes to horror films and even more specific: vampire films.

We have seen the extreme violent and evil natured vampires, and then there are the ones with some empathy and humane features. This film is the latter of the two.

The film isn't based mostly around the sole plot of the vampire, but more around the "vampire's" surroundings, interactions, thought processes, and interests. A select few will really resonate with this movie. If you were ever the different kid at school, it's almost a trip down memory lane. Milo is a selective talker and generally unafraid of bullies, whether at school or around his housing project, and takes it with stride. "It is what it is," he says to the other main character Sophie. Sophie is a bit of a polar opposite of Milo. She is more of an extrovert and not afraid to make the first move. Of course, this creates some friction between the two but that eventually will develop into what I think the movie is honestly about.

This movie isn't centered around his vampiric tendencies: whether they are real or not is for you to decide. It strives more for two people who don't feel they belong or exist in this world. One feeling that way towards the beginning and shifting to the other towards the end. The movie doesn't flesh out much of Milo's background or Sophie's, but I think that's the point. It would have been less interesting if you knew more about either. This isn't one of the best movies I've seen all year, but it has been this week's best by far.

The movie centers around the human condition more than anything, and how people learn to cope with it, or sacrifice to make something larger than themselves be improved or saved.

Don't get me wrong, this film is definitely a slice of life dealing with vampire elements, but it's also about two confused individuals trying to figure out things together. I liked the ending personally, it jumped into a moment of Milo's life and jumped out of it with two people's lives changed for the better or worse. It's completely up to you. This won't scare you, it's more of a drama/crime/mystery. But I loved it. I would honestly give it a solid 6 out of 10, which means I thoroughly enjoyed and will probably show it to someone or watch again myself.

It was a very blood sucking satisfying but, "realistic," as Milo says so much during the movie, reality. It is a more toned down Let the Right One In, but I would say it leans towards that type. So it's up to you if you are interested in a semi complex layered story that has to do with vampire elements.

I would rate it 6 out of 10, but I went with a 7 so it hopefully secures the solid 6 it deserves.
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This movie leaves the viewers as confused and lost as both main protagonists are with respect to the world around them. Keeps your interest nevertheless and is not boring
JvH486 July 2017
Seen at he IMAGINE film festival 2017 in Amsterdam. The story flows all the time and keeps your interest, but overall the dramatic developments are minimal, and the atmosphere embedding the two main topics, violence and social commentary, does not provide for anything new that we haven't seen already in many other movies.

The only novel element is that Milo is a vampire, this time not someone who has to avoid daylight, and he also does not sleep in a coffin. Milo lives a more or less normal life with his older brother, who has apparently nothing more to do than watching TV all day long. Milo marks days on a calendar that he has to go "hunting". We saw a handwritten book with rules of engagement, e.g. that the victim must come instead of chasing him, but that was only a small fragment of a heavy stack of paper. We also see him several times bite randomly chosen victims, after which he is always somewhat nauseas, seemingly inherent in the process. How he became a vampire, is left in the dark (no pun intended), and what we see of his brother does suggest that is not something that runs in the family.

We see less of Sophie, not even her house from the inside, when she e.g. lets Milo wait for her door when she has to pick up something, very different from her having access to Milo's house and even stays in his room for a few days. Not clear what it all means, if anything. Both walk outside the house like a couple, e.g. holding hands, but there is no sex involved as far as we see, despite of sleeping in the same bed and kissing each other frequently.

All in all, if it really was the intention of the film makers to leave us confused, just as confused as both main protagonists are with respect to the world around them, this movie is a success however without a silver lining. It does not make us any wiser through the added elements of social commentary nor does it about violence or NYC's atmosphere, being important topics as suggested by the movie's website but I missed all of it.
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Weird but Interesting Low-Budget Rip-Off of "Martin" and "Låt den rätte komma in"
Claudio Carvalho16 August 2017
The outcast orphan Milo (Eric Ruffin) is a lonely teenager that lives with his brother in a dangerous neighborhood. Milo is fan of vampire stories and movies and he randomly kills people to drink their blood like a vampire and steal their money. When he meets the depressed teenager Sophie (Chloe Levine), they become friends and spend their leisure time together affecting Milo.

"The Transfiguration" is a weird but interesting low-budget rip-off of "Martin" and "Låt den rätte komma in". There is something missing to rate "The Transfiguration" a good film, but it keeps the attention of the viewer until he last scene. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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Slow paced and uneventful...
Paul Magne Haakonsen17 August 2017
I quickly read through the synopsis for the movie when I found it in the horror section. The synopsis seemed like it could be an interesting enough movie, and had me believing that this would be a vampire movie of sorts.

However, this was not really the type of movie that I had expected it to be. And I am somewhat perplexed about how it ended up in the horror section, because this was not a horror movie at all; it was a drama with elements of horror at the very best.

Writer and director Michael O'Shea had come up with a somewhat mundane storyline and one that was rather slow paced as well. That meant that the storytelling wasn't particularly impressive and just trotted on at a very slow and dull pace, making for a less than impressive movie.

Milo's obsession with vampires and his constant watching of vampire movies, made for a fun game of trying to identify as many of the movies that he watched as possible, so it was a test of the viewer's knowledge of vampire movies in a way.

The acting in the movie was adequate, and it was nice to see new faces on the screen. I do enjoy watching new actors and actresses on the screen in movies, as they have no association with prior characters portrayed in other movies. However, the cast in "The Transfiguration" were struggling against the limitations of the script and storyline, and the movie was suffering from that.

"The Transfiguration" was a real struggle to sit through, because it was so slow paced and mundane. It took forever for the story to virtually go almost nowhere. This is definitely not a movie that I will be returning to for a second time around, because it was a battle to get through it the first time. And while the movie is running at an average length of 1 hour and 37 minutes it is so slow paced that it feels like way past 2 hours.
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an impressive directorial debut from Michael O'Shea
re-animatresse5 December 2017
although this is categorised as horror on IMDb and Netflix, i would argue that this film debut by writer/director Michael O'Shea is really more of a psychological thriller. it's a very slow-paced, but highly compelling, philosophical character study

Eric Ruffin gives a great performance as the leading character, who appears to be autistic: he has a special interest in vampires, aversion to eye contact, reduced affect display, selective mutism and a seemingly limited understanding of social norms, though there's clearly something else at play, driving the strange compulsions which are one of the primary focuses and key mysteries of the film

Larry Fessenden, actor and director of Habit (one of my favourite vampire movies), makes a cameo appearance. the script and dialogue are well-written and inspire analysis and meditation. i enjoyed this quite a bit and look forward to seeing what else O'Shea comes up with in or has in store for the future
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The Transfiguration UK release 21st April
Alt Africa12 April 2017
Genre: Drama / Horror- Release date: 21 April 2017 Cert: 15 A young boy Milo (Eric Ruffin) lives on a housing complex in NY, where he is bullied by his peers. His taste for blood and love of horror movies presents a lost soul. What is unclear is how, if at all he became a vampire. Milo finds the equally lost Sophie (Chloe Levine) and they form a relationship which is threatened when she discovers his dark secret. Sophie's character gives the lonely Milo someone to talk between plotting his next kill. There is the mention of an absent mother, subtlety hinting this may be the root of his "abnormality" and question if he is a vampire not just a deeply troubled boy who needs help. Director Michael O'Shea leaves you to make up your own mind. Ruffin's acting convinces us that there is some substance to this story. Stars Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine. Director: Michael O'Shea. Written by Editor @alt_africa
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Painfully Slow and "Un-engaging."
bmco-247-72102516 August 2017
I enjoy Independent films, however the pacing for this particular film was excruciatingly slow and the main character so deadpan and without emotion that at times I felt the need to fast forward in order to get on with the next segment. The soundtrack used during the so called "tense scenes" really had a 50s B movie quality to it, adding to the impression that it was a low budget exercise. No real punch line or moral with the ending and while I did watch it all the way through, the story didn't have any depth to it, the characters were uninteresting and I simply can't recommend it.
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I got plans.
Michael Ledo20 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Milo (Eric Ruffin) is a troubled teen who grew up hurting animals and is fascinated by watching them die. He believes he is a vampire who must feed on human blood monthly. This has replaced his need to kill animals by killing humans instead and adds a source of income. He meets Sophie (Chloe Levine), another troubled teen, who is abused by her grandfather. She likes to drink and cut herself.

The teens are dealing with their losing hands the best they know how, which is not so good. They reject help, except from each other. Milo has an idea what "real" vampires are like and hates "Twilight" (What guy didn't.) In spite of things happening around them all the time, the teens do their best to make you feel their lives are empty by being boring unimaginative characters who lack personality both inside and outside of their quirks. I felt the same as when I watched" Moonlight." The whole thing was rather pointless for me. Not really a horror. More of a drama.

Guide: F-word. Implied sex. No nudity.
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Horror, yes. Vampires, no.
captainblarg17 November 2017
OK yeah, this isn't a vampire movie. I just wanna clarify that one can, and should, ignore the title graphics showing the main character casting a Nosferatu shadow.

With that out of the way, this isn't a bad film by any means. There's pathos, and some humor here and there. It calls strongly upon the reality-sucks school, which isn't among the styles of filmmaking that I enjoy a lot, but if you're into that then do see this. The actors have done a great job, and I think this movie is every bit as deserving as certain other "cult" classics, if not more so. I gave this one -1 for the reason that I probably wouldn't watch it again, however I'd recommend it to anybody who likes a slightly more intellectual film experience. I watched it around the same time I was re-visiting the series Dracula from 1991, and I mean... sun and moon, night and day. If your brain needs a rest real bad, check out the Final Destination franchise, for example, and skip Transfiguration.
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Okay addition to the vampire movie genre
Warning: Spoilers
"The Transfiguration" is an American 95-minute movie from 2016 and the first full feature film by writer and director Michael O'Shea. The cast does not really include any well-known actors. Actually you could argue if the title of my review is correct as vampirism is a crucial component from start to finish and many known vampire films are referenced from start to finish including the excellent Twilight, Let the Right One In etc. in here, but there are no vampires in the supernatural sense. Actually, the vampire-addicted protagonist felt more of a zombie at times because I kinda felt that he was basically sleepwalking his film through the film, but that's not a negative deal-breaker either as the film still works for the most part. Yes it is somewhat bleak and extremely slow and you probably could have fit it in an hour too, but the atmospheric take and character study of two young people struggling makes more than up for it. That's also why I am a bit surprised about the ending O'Shea picked as honestly it did not feel too authentic to me with the desired suicide explanation and it also really went strongly against everything before that when it comes to the tone of the film. Yes it does include a bit of a real life reference that pulls the boy harshly out of his vampire reality and there the boy's intentions hurt the film at all. A bit of a pity. I am not angry because the central character was killed as I honestly cared very little about him anyway, I am instead angry, well a bit, that they did not go for simpler, more harmonic closure, maybe a moment of harmony and peace or even for the boy living his fantasy with killing and drinking a girl. Almost everything could have been better than what they actually went with. Oh well. It is what it is. Thanks to several good moments and a decent story overall, I still give the film a thumbs-up. Go see it if you like vampire-themed films. There really aren't that many anymore these days.
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