Directed by Michael O'Shea
A New York tale about love, loss… and vampires.
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★★★★ review by Naughty on Letterboxd
I saw this not long ago and I truly didn't know what to think of it! All I know is I couldn't turn it off and go to bed even though my pillow was calling out my name! By 5 A.M it was screaming my name at the top of its lungs! ;-)
I'm not really into realism, normally movies are my way to escape! I went in expecting to see a monster but I didn't get the monster that I had been promised, instead I got something far worse than any cinematic monster I had ever seen before!
After I had finished the film I quickly nodded off from exhaustion, after I woke up I logged it, rated it only 3 stars (Need to remedy that), I skipped writing a review and threw on the next movie!
But ever since then the film has been haunting me! There is one particular scene involving a little girl that was so disturbing I can't seem to get it out of my head! My mind kept wandering back to the boy in the film! My thoughts started perculating eventually I came to the conclusion it wasn't about a boy transforming into a monster because by the time we see him he is already your worst nightmare!
It was about a horrifying monster who has found his humanity when he discovered he was capable of not only receiving love but giving it as well! It starts off as a horror story but turns into a tragic love story that ultimately leads to redemption!
There is much more to the story than I had first realized! My gut wouldn't let me be till I figured it all out! It didn't take days to figure out why he turned into a monster that was obvious! Poverty, loss, environment, neglect, racism, gangs, possibly suffering from a mental disorder perhaps autism or asperger's, cards stacked against you every which way and society fails and lets children fall through the cracks onto the violent and merciless streets in a deadly game of survival!
What took days to figure out was the meaning of the title of the film and how it pertained to the film! When I realized transfiguration isn't just about change or transformation it is about transforming into something beautiful! So I put 2 and 2 together! Love was the catalyst for his Transfiguration! Finally the story resonated with me and it took on a deeper meaning! Some films need time to ponder their meaning or even require multiple viewings to get a grasp of its meaning! This is one of them!
Now my gut tells me it is time to let it go and go on to the next movie!
★★★★★ review by Jacob Knight on Letterboxd
Imagine DRILLER KILLER/MS. 45 era Abel Ferrara making his LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and you're not too far off. Creepy, filled with dread, but still incredibly sad and empathetic, this is one of the better modern horror movies to come in a long while. The entire thing is stuffed with genuine NYC texture, to the point that we can smell the stale gum caked into the sidewalks. It's frankness regarding how children process oppressive trauma nearly matches the sweetness of a mentally deranged black boy (who thinks he's a vampire a la Romero's MARTIN) and the repeatedly abused girl he shares his first moments of true emotional intimacy with. My absolute favorite movie I've seen at SXSW 2017.
★★★★ review by Olivier Lemay on Letterboxd
I've wanted to see this movie for over a year now since it was selected at Cannes and the title intrigued me and that it was one of the only horror movies in the selection. I read just a little bit about it and all I can remember (except from a vague description of the plot) ie that the director wanted to go in the direction of the contemporary American realism of Kelly Reichardt and the Safdie brothers which seems to be a pretty unusual way to make a horror film.
Make no mistake, this is not a horror film. There are about 6 scenes that are horror related in the whole film and I'd say only half of them are effective. So what we're left with is a slow and sometimes disturbing coming of age film that plays around with vampirism pretty cleverly. In the first scenes it is really hard to get invested since O'Shea leaves us in the dark as to what is going on which I admire since it makes the movie more unpredictable and challenges horror conventions. As soon as the plot really kicks in The Transfiguration feels like it's improving after every scene (i thought i would gives this two and a half stars at first) as we end up knowing more and more about the characters and their relationships. By far my favourite aspect of the movie is how the vampire aspect is handled, I don't think I've ever seen such a wildly different take on this and it was so refreshing. I've seen a lot of people comparing this to Let The Right One In (which is actually mentioned in the film lol) and I know I've only seen the remake but there are similarities but all of them are handled differently in this so this isn't so much of a problem but it very well could be to any big fan of the Swedish classic.
So The Transfiguration feels like a mix of the rawness & aesthetic of It Felt Like Love and the kind of post-modern horror found in Personal Shopper. If that sounds intriguing then do check this one out
★★★★★ review by NightOfTheCreeps on Letterboxd
Masterfully executed coming of age/horror film. I haven't seen anything reach these levels of realism or dread since Scott Schirmer's 'Found'. I can already sense this one will be on my mind for the next few days.
★★★★ review by danote on Letterboxd
Martín, de George A. Romero, es el referente obligado: un coming of age sobre un chaval que está seguro de ser un vampiro. Pero The Transfiguration toma mucho más de Martín que la simple trama, está es una película de horror que usa el vampirismo para una metáfora sobre el crecimiento y el luto de un chico solitario. Es bonita y triste.
Si algo le resta un punto (minor spoilers ahead) es que, te dejan muy claro que el chico está lidiando con el aftermath del suicidio de su madre. Esto es un detalle que en parte construye al personaje, pero después de cierto punto, parece abogar que el chico no es un vampiro, que esto es una manera de proyectar su sufrimiento. Digo que le resta un puntito porque en Martin me encantaba la ambigüedad que maneja toda la película: uno jamás sabe si Martin es en verdad un vampiro o un loco. Aquí me falto poquito de eso, pero solo poquito. En general, este es un bonito homenaje y una linda película de horror.
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