Directed by Michael O'Shea
A New York tale about love, loss… and vampires.
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★★★★ review by Naughty aka Juli Norwood 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.
★★★½ review by Ian West on Letterboxd
I love Arthouse Vampire films. Especially when they take place in New York City. They suck me in, make me fall in love with them, and then break my heart. I'll definitely have this on my mind for a few days, I'll articulate better then.
Strong Martin by way of Let the Right One In vibes.
Also, the poster for this is aces *chefs kiss*
★★★★ review by Dale Raulerson on Letterboxd
I caught wind of The Transfiguration something like a year and a half ago, when it got picked up at Cannes, apparently to some surprise to the director. It seemed like no one was talking about it after and it dropped off my radar for a long while before reappearing recently on Netflix. Even though I was really interested, I procrastinated around watching it until now.
I'm glad I watched it though, and I hope that more people do too. Knowing the basic premise of the movie (a troubled teen, obsessed with vampires, befriends a girl) I formed a certain expectation of what the movie would be about, which turned out to be wholly inaccurate. While this is a very slow and carefully paced movie, it also jumps directly into the violence and vampirism. This signifies the biggest difference in my expectation in that this isn't a movie about someone slowly losing control or losing sight of reality. It's instead about someone who is already broken and troubled and their journey to redemption. The titular transfiguration is a goal, an attempt to right wrongs of one's existence.
I would draw a lot of similarities between this movie and last year's I Am Not a Serial Killer. The lead, played fantastically by Eric Ruffin, is aware of his tendencies, his disorders and his propensity for violence. His role is creepy and off putting, but also tragic. His companion, played by Chloe Levine, serves to draw out his humanity and bring some light to the dreary setting. The two have a lovely chemistry and share some really sweet scenes together.
I can already hear the cries that the film is "boring" and lacks "horror". While macabre, it is a drama and character piece first for sure. Even so, there are some deliciously eerie sequences that mirror other vampire films (Let the Right One In comes to mind, and aptly so as being named in film as a favorite of our young vampire). The score is minimal but pitches effectively when needed, and the camera finds plenty of interesting places to linger and move, capturing the desolation of the urban setting beautifully.
Not a film that is going to be for everyone, especially when it comes to horror fans who are often either lovers or haters of this kind of slow moving film. Personally, it's my style of movie and one that I'm happy has been gaining more attention lately. For those of you who feel similarly, this should serve as a great addition to the lineup.
★★★★½ review by Jeremiah on Letterboxd
"You wouldn't like me in the end. I'm not good, I never will be..."
Vampirism as a seemingly incurable mental affliction, is a take on the sub-genre I want to see tackled more often. And here, with The Transfiguration, it being framed with a coming of age story about a young black man living in the projects, feeling absolutely trapped - one who's only hope for escape is the salvation of someone else...oh man. This is poignantly powerful - affecting - stuff, and I'm left emotionally shook. The Transfiguration is probably the best vampire film since 'Let the Right One In'.
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