Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Transfiguration, or: You Know He’s a Vampire When…

One of the best films by far of the blog collab has been A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, an Iranian movie about a skateboarding vampire.  If it worked for us once, why not give the modern vampire film another go, complete with gore and some surprisingly beautiful shots of the beach?

The Film:

The Transfiguration

The Premise:

A teen who believes he is a vampire begins to feel remorse about his disturbing behavior when he befriends a teen girl who moves in to his apartment building.

The Ramble:

While on the surface a quiet, reflective teenager, Milo is secretly obsessed with vampires–and may in fact be a vampire.  Based on his own carefully timed schedule, Milo periodically selects an unlucky victim, who he stabs in the neck with a concealed knife and then drinks the blood.  An opportunist, Milo also takes their cash with him and stores it in a secret stash.

Considered a freak in his NYC neighborhood, a group of rather douchey older teens pick on him constantly.  At school, Milo’s counselor seems to be very concerned that he may be hurting animals and has no friends.  Milo lives with his brother, and seems to be concealing some disturbing thoughts and feelings surrounding the death of their mother.

a boy sits outside on the steps of a fire escape at night, taking notes from a book
I know what you did last summer…

When Sophie moves in with her abusive grandfather, she bonds with Milo immediately even though her favorite vampire movie is Twilight.  Gaining a reputation as a loose woman, Sophie endures ridicule and finds comfort in cutting herself.  The two outcasts become close, but Sophie backs off when Milo shows her some of his favorite video clips of animals being killed.  I mean, she’s not wrong about that being a giant red flag.

a teenage boy and girl sit next to each other outside on an abandoned piece of furniture
Also being a fan of “Ripping out squirrels’ entrails and feeding them to piranhas” on Facebook could be considered a clue.

Though Sophie and Milo do have a bit of a push/pull, she ultimately moves in to escape her grandfather and stays in watching a lot of vampire movies with Milo.  Meanwhile, Milo continues to give in to his vampiric urges.  All of this seems surprisingly sustainable…which is how you know something has to give.

teenagers recline on a bed, watching TV while snacking on popcorn
Relationship goals.

Milo is chillingly successful at containing his feelings, as evidenced by his interaction with a pair of white teens trying to score some drugs.  Assuming everyone in the area is a dealer, they ask Milo if he can hook them up.  Milo agrees to help them, and leads the guy to an incredibly creepy basement room.  Once there, Milo lures his bullies over, where things escalate much too quickly and someone ends up dead.

As a witness to all of this, Milo now holds power but insists he isn’t a snitch.  What will Milo do with this newfound power, and is it enough to keep him safe?  And will his  vampiric thirst for blood ever be quenched?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

The premise of this film is incredibly original, drawing parallels between vampirism and the violence, lack of opportunity, and despair Milo feels.  It’s also wonderfully tense; it’s unclear at times whether Milo loves Sophie or wants to drink her blood, which I guess is at the heart of all vampire films.  Despite the body count Milo has racked up, I couldn’t help rooting for him and hoping for him to put his vampire past behind him and find a way out of his situation with the boys in his neighborhood.

That being said, some of the tension is lost in the very loose plot of this film, and I would’ve liked more action and perhaps a better glimpse into Milo’s thoughts.  Just as he remains quiet and aloof to those around him, Milo remains something of a mystery to us too.  Some of his actions are extremely thoughtful and caring, while others are uncomfortably calculated and detached.  We explore Milo as a vampire–but more importantly, as someone deeply misunderstood and attempting to make sense of grief.

On a side note, I got kind of distracted thinking about when this film was set, as Milo has a collection of VHS tapes, a phone that looks to be from the early 2000s, and uses a computer exclusively to watch video clips that may have been posted on a blog?

Would my blog wife give this one a bite or opt for a burger instead?  Find out by reading her review here!