By Clark Collis
March 07, 2017 at 12:00 PM EST

In the Cannes Festival-screened horror-thriller The Transfiguration, a troubled teen named Milo hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession.

The Transfiguration is written and directed by Michael O’Shea and stars Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, and Aaron Moten.

“I was watching a very sensitive, sweet film about growing up as an outsider,” says O’Shea in his director’s statement. “It had cruelty in it, but in the end was hopeful about humanity and who we are. While watching, I felt that my experience of life is a lot less kind. I thought it would be interesting to make something with the opposite point of view, more nihilistic. I started thinking about what that would be. So I think that was the start. I had just been struggling to get a bigger script off the ground, and I wanted an idea that I could make as low budget as possible and direct myself. I also have a friend of a friend whose kid loves vampires, drew vampires all the time, and the kids at school were teasing and bullying him over it. Which I connected to emotionally from my own childhood. So that was the next big piece, to use that.”

The Transfiguration will receive its North American premiere at the upcoming SXSW Festival and is opening theatrically in April.

Watch the film’s exclusive (and rather unnerving) trailer above.