16th Jun2020

‘Transference’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Melissa Joy Boerger, Matt Daciw, Eamon Hanson, Jehan Hashim, Ethan Mitchell, Tony Nash, Jeremy Ninaber, Matthew Ninaber, Gary Kirkham, Marlo Milstone, Justin Moses | Written by Jennifer Lloyd, Matthew Ninaber, Aaron Tomlin | Directed by Matthew Ninaber

The enormous rise of superhero movies has meant that even filmmakers with small budget are trying to create something within the genre. Some have worked, some have not but with the restriction of the budget, writers have had to come up with clever ideas.

At first Transference has that definite feel of a sci-fi that is leaning towards horror but it slowly evolves into a more X-Men-influenced sci-fi movie. Lead character Emma possesses supernatural abilities and is almost being kept prisoner by her twin brother Joshua. He believes he is keeping her safe from the outside world, the people that will do horrible things to her if they discover what she can do. It soon seems that he is right when a mystery person starts to hunt him and his sister down.

Despite having all the elements of sci-fi, horror, superhero and thriller, Transference can never seem to decide exactly what it wants to be. And of course it doesn’t have to be one thing but it doesn’t always work when it flits between each genre.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me with Transference is that it seems to choose to be vague in so much of its story. It seems understandable at first, many movies don’t let the cat out of the bag immediately. But everything here seems to not want to tell you alot.

From the first scene you feel like you have been dropped in at a point where a whole lot has happened already, just it hasn’t been shown or explained yet. To be fair, some of it is explained, things are not left a complete mystery – such as the relationship between the twins and why they are connected. But it does all feel quite hazy and like the viewer is left to fill in the blanks themselves. None more so than two of the three main side characters. A guy that works for Joshua to help his sister and a doctor he recommends. We don’t learn any of their history at all and it feels like it could be very important.

I don’t know if it was time or money restrictions or just a choice but I felt that so much of the story could have been fleshed out and created something much more interesting.

Except for a couple of acting performances, Transference doesn’t feel like an amateur production at all despite the relative inexperience of some of the cast and crew. Melissa Joy Boerger is far from perfect as Emma but I was still surprised to discover this was her first acting role. As her brother Joshua, Jimmy Ninaber does even better. With only his fourth acting role he does really well in what could have been a quite bland character in lesser hands.

Other positives comes from how the movie looks. The cinematography is well thought out and Transference looks good for its full run time. The handful of fight scenes are all impressive too, with top-notch choreography, making them look violent and hard-hitting.

There are plenty of positives with Transference but the story lets it down. It didn’t grab me or give me enough answers to the many questions I had, while even the ending didn’t feel like a proper conclusion to things. It was like the ending of a weekly TV show. For a better but similar movie, go check out Freaks because that does things a whole lot better. That said, the people involved will no doubt go on to bigger things because there’s plenty of talent here.


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