Everyone has heard myths about monsters. Whether it be Frankestien’s Monster, a Mummy or a Vampire we all know the mystery surrounding them.
But what if one of them was more real, i.e your neighbour was one and you didn’t have a clue at all – kinda changes the landscape, doesn’t it.
Well in the debut feature of writer-director Michael O’Shea, his monster is as real as a grumpy teenager.
The protagonist of The Transfiguration, Milo (Eric Ruffin), is a bit of an oddball: socially awkward and without many friends. He is obsessed with vampires and tells his slightly older girlfriend Sophie (Chloe Levine) that he prefers the ‘realistic’ ones compared to the twinkling type you’d find in Twilight.
Labelled a “freak”, in our first introduction to Milo we see him chowing down on a guys neck in a public bathroom, before leaving his victim lifeless having stolen the money in his wallet.
By putting a black teen from a housing project at the heart of his film, O’Shea has put a twist on the horror genre and made it feel real, much like Get Out.
When it seems more likely that Milo would get embroiled in drug dealing, what he actually does is a lot worse.
Essentially a serial killer, he cloaks his activities as vampire roleplay, writing a journal of “rules for hunting” and theorising that the undead cannot kill themselves.
But why would a teenager turn to mass murder, and without much motive either? It is something that is skimmed over, but it doesn’t really affect the narrative; in fact the less you know keeps you in suspense.
O’Shea has scenes build steadily, relying on chillingly natural lead performances and credible talk — but the plotting is tight, with random acts of senseless gang violence, showing Milo isn’t even unusual in his murderousness, just in the myth he has chosen to wrap it in.
The dynamic between Milo and Sophie adds some much needed sweetness to the film, but Sophie is not without her own issues, which makes them the perfect ying-and-yang duo.
And it is when the film turns to focus more on Sophie that Milo starts to finally feel remorse for what he has done, you need to look at the ending of the film with an open mind.
The closing moments go beyond death in true vampire movie fashion, but it is the words of Milo which leave a haunting message ringing in the ears of the audience.
The Transfiguration is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.
Dir: Michael O’Shea
Prd: Daniel Hammond and Lauren McCarthy
Scr: Michael O’Shea
Starring: Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine
Music By: Margaret Chardiet
Running Time: 97mins