Film: The Transfiguration
Director: Michael O’Shea
Writer: Michael O’Shea
Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine and Jelly Bean
This film starts in a men’s bathroom. We see a guy using a urinal and there is something going on in one of the stalls. We hear a sucking sound and this draws the man’s attention. He drops to all fours to look under the door and then leaves. We then see that there is a teen. He is played by Eric Ruffin. Ruffin then picks up a wallet and takes the money from it.
Ruffin is obsessed with vampires. He has pictures up all over his room and has video tapes of different films that he recorded. He puts the money he took in a plastic bag behind some of them. We then see him watching a weird video online while eating cereal. He then vomits into his trashcan.
Next we see him in school. He isn’t paying much attention. He is doodling and we see on the other page writing notes about how to hunt. We then see him talking to with a psychologist. She asks him about if he is still hurting animals. He states he is not. She then asks if he has been thinking about it and how this is a safe place. He does admit he has been thinking of it.
Ruffin after school gets chased by bullies. They catch him and one of them urinates on him. He does get away and runs home. Once there he undresses and washes his clothes in the bathtub. He comes out pretending he took a shower. He lives with his brother, who is played by Aaron Moten. All he seems to do is watch television. Later we learn that he used to run with a gang and was in the military.
He constantly is watching videos on his computer of animals attacking other animals or animals being slaughtered. He also writes notes in his journal about different vampires. We do see him in a park, where he is pretending to be asleep. A man happens upon and then he attacks him.
One night when he is coming in, there is a girl that is waiting for the elevator. She is played by Chloe Levine. He informs her that it is out of order. They both go into the stairwell and he starts to run up them. She asks if he will help her with her bags. He does.
The next day he is walking through a field and comes upon her. There is a group of guys that get into a vehicle and leave. He asks her a question, startling her. They sit together and talk. I believe that Levine is addicted to heroin. They share some alcohol and Ruffin asks her about sex. He also asks about her blood and attempts to drink if from her arm. She stops it, thinking he is sweet. They go back to his room, but she gets freaked out by a video he is watching.
Throughout the film we see there are some thugs that are in a gang. They hang out right outside of the building that he lives in. Their leader is played by Carter Redwood. He calls Ruffin freak and bullies him.
Ruffin and Levine start to hang out more. He talks more about vampires to her and she suggests Twilight. One day when he is walking home, she asks if she can walk with him. They are stopped by Redwood and his gang. They talk down to both of them until they leave. Ruffin then asks if Levine wants to go to the movies with him. She agrees. They become a couple.
Things change quite a bit when a guy, played by Danny Flaherty, asks Ruffin if he knows where he can score some drugs for a party. His girlfriend, played by Charlotte Schweiger, is in the car with him. Ruffin tells him to follow him and ends up leading him into the basement of his building. There he is killed by a member of Redwood’s gang. The police take Ruffin in for questioning and when he won’t talk, they drop him off so Redwood’s gang can see it.
Levine ends up finding Ruffin’s calendar when she stays with him. His detailed notes about how to hunt scare her. Ruffin thinks he is a vampire and we see him as he kills a drunk man as well is his daughter. Is Ruffin a vampire? Or is this his way of coping with his mother’s suicide? What will happen with this young couple living in this rough neighborhood?
I was turned on to this film from a podcast that I listen to. I decided to check this out while compiling my 2017 list of horror films. I have to say that I really liked this film. I should warn you from the beginning that this film is a slow burn. If you are not into those types of films, then this isn’t for you. Now from what I can tell, this kind of a modern take on the film Martin from the 1970s. It is funny because that film is even referenced in this one. Ruffin thinks he is a vampire and we learn why. He keeps a calendar where he circles a specific date on it each month. He has to feed on blood by that date. What is interesting though is that early in the film we see him vomit up cereal, making me at first think that maybe he is. It isn’t until much later that I realized why he threw up. I thought the love story between him and Levine was cute. This is really a coming of age story of Ruffin as he finally tries to deal with the trauma seeing his mother’s death caused him. He even punishes himself in the end for the things he did, which I thought was great. It really has a powerful ending with a boy growing up much earlier than he should have to.
The acting in this film was pretty good to me. Ruffin comes off as stoic and introverted. He doesn’t talk a lot and really only does when things are pulled from him. The more time he spends with Levine, the more he starts to open up. I thought that showed some solid character growth. Even more so with what happens at the end. I thought Levine was interesting. She is a cute. The only issue I had with her was that I believe she is supposed to be a junkie, but we never got anything of her going through withdrawals or using. I can understand that the director might not want to subject her to that, but I felt that needed to be done to stick with the realism. I thought Redwood was good as the jerk. I also thought Moten was interesting. He doesn’t do a lot, but I think he is supposed to have PTSD from what happened to his mother and his time in the military.
There wasn’t a lot in the way of effects in this film, but the ones that were used were good. They were done practically which I am a big fan of. The editing I didn’t have any issues with. I will bring up again that this film is a designed to be slow. The payoff at the end isn’t overly exciting, but it is a slow burn. The score of the film I thought was good. I didn’t have any issues with it and it didn’t blow me away though either.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. It has a deep story about a boy that is dealing with the death of his mother in a morbid way. I thought the coming of age and the adult decision he makes in the end was interesting. The acting was really good. The effects were practical and looked real. The editing of the film was well done, but as stated, it is a slow burn so be prepared for that. The score of the film also was good in my opinion. I felt that this is a good film and would recommend giving it a viewing if you are into this type of film. It is a realistic take on a vampirism by a boy who has some deep seeded issues.
My Rating: 8 out of 10