Rufus (Rory Saper) stands with bloody shotgun blast to his stomach with Tracy (Merritt Patterson). (eOne Films)
The film has an atmospheric feel, really getting into the flat, cold, grey look of a winter-locked town.
—Alison Gillmor, reviewer
Rufus, a new film by Alberta-based writer-director Dave Schultz, is a prairie vampire film. Sweet-natured but without much bite, it's not so much a horror film as it is a melancholy coming-of-age tale, angsty and low-key with moments of wistful humour.
The film wears its influences on its (slightly bloodstained) sleeve: There's a bit of Let the Right One In, without the gore or visceral scares. There's a little Twilight, without the goopy teen mopeyness. And there's maybe just a titch of Corner Gas.
A catastrophic road accident leaves Rufus (appealing English newcomer Rory J. Saper) stranded in the small town of Conrad (actually Dundurn, Saskatchewan, probably pretending to be somewhere in North Dakota). Taken in by the local sheriff and his wife, Rufus starts up a tentative emo romance with Tracy (Merritt Patterson), the troubled, wild girl next door.
Rufus is going through an identity crisis. Yes, he seems to have been walking the earth for
over 100 years in the body of an attractively wan British kid. And, yes, he does like the taste of blood. But vampires don't exist, according to Rufus. Really, this lonely teen just wants to fit in.
Of course, fitting in can be hard in a small town, even if you're not undead. And Rufus's situation is complicated by a love triangle involving Tracy's thuggish ex. It's further complicated by the feelings of Rufus's surrogate parents, who are mourning the loss of their own son.