Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Review: The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration
Cert: 15 / 97 mins / Dir. Michael O'Shea / Trailer

It's a slyly self-aware movie which focuses on a kid obsessed with vampires who berates the 'unrealistic' nature of the Twilight series, but also uses that same series' typeface to display its screen-credits. I approve of this wholeheartedly.

Michael O'Shea's shocking yet quietly-introspective drama/horror stars Eric Ruffin as Milo, a teenager living with his older brother (JaQwan Kelly) in the NYC housing projects who fixates on the undead*1 as a coping-mechanism after a trauma. As he gradually befriends the awkward and introverted Sophie (Chloe Levine) in the same apartment block, they both begin to come out of their respective shells, but how much of their past is lurking, waiting to pull them back?

The Transfiguration is beguiling in that it's a vampire film that's not really about vampires, but still is. And much like that other recent genre-wildcard, this film does have moments of genuine, brutal heft. The the film is very indy, all handheld cameras and awkward silences, and the three central performances are absolutely outstanding here. The silences almost become a character in their own right, with what happens between the beats being every bit as important as the beats themselves. While the film isn't presented in black-and-white, my memories of it are almost entirely desaturated by its claustrophobia. This demands re-watching.

Watch The Transfiguration
It isn't about vampires.

But also, it totally is.*2

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Imagine someone smashed together Moonlight and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night in the Large Cinematic Collider.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
As much as I loved it, this is a DVD-type movie.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I think so.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Everyone here was new to me, so I couldn't say.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Hell, no.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Hell, no.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film stars Chloe Levine who also appears in TV's The OA, as does Jason 'Inquisitor' Isaacs and Riz 'Rook' Ahmed.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 I love that the film's protagonist is a black teenager who's obsessed with vampires, if only because that's a demographic that the genre really doesn't cater for (certainly not at the broad-yet-nano level which he's into it). That said, Milo is a kid who (while he namechecks a shitload of bloodsucker movies) can apparently lecture people on the logic of vampiric physiology, yet he's got a copy of Dracula Untold in his house. What the hell kind of vampire obsessive would give that dreadful old shit any shelf-space? The fact that it's a home-taped VHS (presumably from off of the telly) makes it even more baffling. That film's not worth the effort required to write its name on the tape-label, never mind actually deciding to keep afterwards…[ BACK ]

*2 Come on, you're genuinely unsure if the occupant of that body bag is going to sit up…[ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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