Review: In ‘The Transfiguration,’ Coping With Bullies and Craving Blood


Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine in “The Transfiguration.”

Strand Releasing

Young Milo has problems. Not only is he picked on by the bullies in the New York public-housing complex where he lives, but he also craves human blood. As if an impoverished adolescence weren’t messy enough.

We never quite learn how Milo (Eric Ruffin of “The Good Wife”) becomes a vampire in Michael O’Shea’s modestly appealing debut feature, “The Transfiguration,” or whether he simply imagines he is one and kills accordingly. But there are clues as to why. Most concern empowerment.


Trailer: ‘The Transfiguration’

A preview of the film.

By STRAND RELEASING on Publish Date April 4, 2017.

Photo by Strand Releasing.

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Milo lives with his older, protective brother, Lewis (a worthy Aaron Clifton Moten); their parents are dead. Milo — often sequestered in his bedroom, studying his videotape horror library (including “The Lost Boys,” but also Michael Almereyda’s indie “Nadja”) — meticulously maintains a journal of his sanguinary pursuits. When he meets Sophie (Chloe Levine), a neighbor living with an abusive grandparent, she appreciates his quiet, intelligent sensitivity. Of course, his penchant for graphically violent documentaries is off-putting, but nevertheless they form a relationship, which is eventually threatened when she discovers his notebooks.

Ms. Levine strives with her underwritten role as a flailing rag doll with a dream. Mr. Ruffin must carry the film, projecting interior activity and suggesting information where the script (by Mr. O’Shea) does not. That he imbues the film with a weight greater than its words is a testament to his skill as an actor. But “The Transfiguration” does have something to say about class and the sometimes raging consequences of economic deprivation. And does so — forgive me — with taste.

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