Michael O’Shea’s Amazing Vampire Feature Debut ‘The Transfiguration’ hits UK DVD & Blu on August 14th

rsz_transfigurationTHE TRANSFIGURATION | UK DVD and Blu-ray release 14th August 2017 Dir: Michael O’Shea Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine

“A defining vampire film of the mid-2010’s” ★★★★ Empire
“Cleverly written coming-ofage horror” ★★★★ i Newspaper

“A strange, haunting film that sticks with you for days” Shortlist

An atmospheric, intricate study of a troubled young mind, THE TRANSFIGURATION follows orphaned teen Milo (Eric Ruffin) as he immerses himself in vampire lore to escape his troubled life.

In Queens, New York, 14 year-old Milo is a total outsider. Ignored by his schoolmates and bullied by older children, he takes refuge in the apartment he shares with his older brother. To escape his solitude, he studies vampire mythology, to the point of obsession. Milo hides a terrible secret, but a chance encounter with neighbor Sophie (Chloe Levine) leads him to develop new feelings. But will it be enough to quash his dark urges?

This first feature from writer/director Michael O’Shea took Cannes 2016 by storm, where it competed in Un Certain Regard, and received widespread praise for it’s bold, unusual take on the classic coming of age tale… with added bite.

Special features: Filmmakers’ commentary / Making of / Deleted and extended scenes / trailer Genre: Horror / Drama Language: English with English subtitles Runtime: 93 minutes RRP: £17.99 / £21.99 Cat no: TRL356 / TRL356BD

Florida Gothic by Mitzi Szereto – Book Review

florida gothicFlorida Gothic – Book Review
Written by Mitzi Szereto

UK Amazon Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Florida-Gothic-Book-1-ebook/dp/B06ZZ6QCXN/

A hit-and-run driver leaves Ernesto Martinez to die by a Miami canal. Then an alligator comes along to finish the job. Being dead gives Ernesto plenty of time to think. He thinks about his wife, taken from him too soon by illness. He thinks about his daughter, the victim of a drunk driver. He thinks about his death as he watches his body slowly decompose. Most of all, he thinks about injustice.”

Full disclosure before I begin: I’ve known Mitzi Szereto for more than a decade. Not only is she an author I respect and admire, and someone with whom I’ve collaborated in the past, but she’s also a good friend. So, if you’re thinking this review is going to be biased in her favour: you’re absolutely right.

Florida Gothic is a well-crafted story with a strong focus on character. Written in the present tense, which gives all events a powerful sense of immediacy, the story shifts chapter-by-chapter into the lives of various characters who develop as they insouciantly propel the story’s plot. Cleverly, because Szereto has dropped a lot of Spanish vocabulary into the text, the sense of place is as vivid as the sense of character. Occasionally this vocabulary lesson can be a little distracting, but it is a constant reminder of the story’s well-rendered, exotic location that helps to keep the reader immersed in the physicality of the story.

One of the things that makes this story particularly compelling is the unlikability of the characters in the story. It’s easy to desire justice when you’re reading about people who seem deserving of punishment. And Szereto makes sure the journey to justice is thoroughly enjoyable.

With endorsements from esteemed figures in the horror world such as Peter Straub and Nancy Kilpatrick, Florida Gothic is an intelligent dip into the supernatural that bodes well as the starting title in the series. I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to the next title. 9/10.

The Baylock Residence (2018) Review

rsz_baylock_posterThe Baylock Residence (2018)

Director: Anthony M. Winson

Starring: Kelly Goudie, Sarah Wynne Kordas, Karen Henson, Kieron Brook

This is making me very uneasy.”

During the London Blitz, Patricia Woodhouse (Kelly Goudie) receives news of her estranged sister Susanna’s (Karen Henson) death. With nothing left in London Patricia goes to Baylock house and meets Annabel (Sarah Wynne Kordas), her sister’s maid. Patricia tries to carry on, seeing to her sister’s things, but strange things begin to happen. Noises wake Patricia in the night, voices come from the shadows and strange dreams assail her. Annabel is disbelieving until she too witnesses the terrifying phenomenon. Patricia is determined to find out what is happening in her house and what happened to her sister. The haunting seem to link back Susanna’s husband Victor who disappeared without a trace years before.

The Baylock Residence has an equal number of pros and cons. So much so that they cancel each other out and what’s left is a zero sum.

Pro: The acting is pretty decent. Goudie and Kordas carry a lot of weight and the vast majority of the screen time. They do a decent job overall.

Con: In a scene when Patricia tells Annabel that not only has she lost her sister but her husband has died in the war and her home was bombed. Goudie delivers this information with all the emotion of reading a grocery list.

Pro: Pretty decent haunted house type plot including creepy dreams and a secret in the attic.

Baylock 1Con: Nothing it done either in color palette or film quality to distinguish past from present, dream from reality. It’s the same one note film throughout.

Pro: I love period pieces and was excited when Baylock opened and the setting was WWII.

Con: The costumes were… not good. Wilson obviously didn’t have the money to pull off a period piece. The hair, costumes, and even the setting aren’t period accurate. It looked more like the actors and extras were asked to provide their own wardrobe out of anything vaguely 40s style pulled from their closets.

Pro: The piano music isn’t terrible.

Con: The score/background music is almost nothing but piano music and it begin to grate after an hour or so.

Pro: The plot takes some nice twists and turns and Patricia has to engage in my favorite thing in horror movies: research at the library.

Con: Toward the end the story wanders off into inscrutable. Horror filmmakers- please just offer a coherent explanation. Impenetrably vague endings aren’t fun and mysterious. They just plain don’t make sense.

Pro: There are ghosts.

Con: The ghosts are boring.

Pro: Wilson made an entire movie an estimated £3000 and it’s not terrible.

Con: It looks about like you’d expect a movie the cost £3000 to look and feel.

Baylock 3So, bottom line. The Baylock Residence isn’t terrible. I’ve certainly sat through much worse. But I’ve also watched much better films of equivalent budget. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It could be worse. It could be better. The most notable scene in the entire film is a terrible CGI composite of a bombed London street that is laughably bad. But after that there are no more special effects and the film is better for it. Baylock offers a decent story with some clever filmmaking for a micro budget film. But it’s not truly scary or atmospheric.

Kudos for: Sob fighting.

Lesson learned: Just leave the bloody house.

4/10