Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine in 'The Transfiguration'
Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine in 'The Transfiguration'

You worry about Milo (Eric Ruffin) watching The Transfiguration, the haunting debut film from Michael O’Shea. He’s that kind of boy, a scrap of an African-American kid, small and solemn with his rucksack overwhelming him, catcalled by his peers outside his home in the projects of Queens, New York. Yet your fear might be misdirected, because Milo is — or at least believes himself to be — a vampire, attacking his victims in restrooms or parks by night. Then he wanders back to the dowdy apartment he shares with his brother to eat a bowl of cereal and choose from his collection of classic vampire movies.

The story changes gear when misfit love blooms with Sophie (Chloe Levine), a girl from another bad home, the courtship surviving him showing too much interest in a flesh wound. “Kinda sweet,” she says. “But gross.” Eventually, he takes her to see Nosferatu, where she tells him she prefers Twilight, enough to drive a stake through the heart of any teenage boy. The charm is offset by the mood of scuzzy gloom and the menace of the projects. O’Shea lets his story burn slowly — the better, it turns out, to lodge in the mind.

Get alerts on Arts when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article