Transylvanie (2023) [Fantasia Film Festival 2023] 

A young girl being bullied for thinking she’s a vampire decides to show her bullies that she really is a vampire. 

Written by Rodrigue Huart, David A. Cassan, and Axel Wusten, and directed by Huart, this short film is one that hits home for anyone who has been bullied as a kid, anyone who didn’t fit in growing up, and vampire fans. It’s one of those sad-sweet films that is hard to explain. It’s not exactly scary, being more sad than spooky. There is an element of “good for her” but not in an obvious manner and it doesn’t last. The film goes up and down a few times for its lead, giving her plenty to go through and leading the viewer to follow her and feel for her in her situation. The ending comes hard and rough but feels like it makes sense within the story told. While it’s not the bloodiest short film out there, there is some disturbing material here and it makes a point in a bit of a brutal manner.  

The lead character here is Ewa. Katell Varvat plays this part beautifully well, giving her depth and emotions, making her a character most will recognize something of themselves in. She gives one of those performances that captivates with small, subtle variations, making her character not only the lead, but the one that keeps the attention throughout the film. She’s the lead, she’s the film. She basically is the whole reason to see this movie, she shows so much talent. The rest of the cast plays different levels of bullies, most of them being perfectly serviceable and giving exactly the type of performance one would expect for this type of performance. 

The film’s cinematography by Julien Ramirez Hernan is grey and careful, giving a solemn atmosphere to the film, making it feel more serious and giving it that little extra something to bring the viewer in. Adding to the mood is the on point music by The Pschotic Monks which works great here to underline the action and elevate a few scenes, including the ending.  

Transylvanie is a well-crafted, thought out, and thoughtful film that mixes the horrors of being bullied with the horrors of vampires. It’s a film that is both sad and satisfying, a short film that makes the most of its runtime and gives the viewers plenty to chew on. The lead performance along with the cinematography, and the music help lead the viewer through the story and really work well together, creating the kind of short films that makes you want to what the team behind it will be up to next.  

This year the Fantasia International Film Festival runs in Montreal from July 20th to August 9th.