Rufus also offsets any of your expectations of a vampire film. On the face of it, most of the show seems to be a film about smalltown values relaxed arcs as boy meets girl, about the strange kid to town fighting prejudice, the locals coming to his defence and so on. The soundtrack is filled with amiably folksy music and the pace is very laidback. None of which suggests a vampire film at all.
The two vampire films you might reach to for comparison are the Swedish Let the Right One In (2008), or its English-language remake Let Me In (2010), and George Romeros Martin (1976). From Martin, we have the idea of a pale, socially awkward youth that everyone around assumes is just a weird teenager but also happens to be an immortal who occasionally needs to go out to kill people and drink their blood. From Let the Right One In, we have the friendship/relationship between a vampire and a mortal neighbour one of whom looks like and is thought to be an ordinary youth and how the mortal becomes drawn in but is unfazed by the others non-human nature and becomes complicit in helping them cover up their crimes. As opposed to Let the Right One In, Rufus makes the vampire be the boy rather than the girl, and ups the (apparent) age of both parties into their teens rather than has them as pre-adolescents.
Rufus works quite nicely as an amiable, laidback film about smalltown values with a focus on character interactions. All of the actors play very nicely. And all of this is far from anything we expect of a vampire film. The people whose blood that Rory J. Saper drains are ones whose actions mark them as deserving a paedophile truck driver, bullying Richard Harmon who we are first introduced to as in the midst of attacking Merritt Patterson. There is no equivalent of a vampire hunter here. At most, we get Kim Coates as the representative of a pharmaceutical company that regards Rory J. Saper as their property and want to reclaim him. Coates is painted as the traditional black hat villain of the show, although even then gets speeches about the necessity of his actions. And even when the climax of the film comes, it is about Rory J. Saper acting to protect the family who have welcomed him despite his oddities. At the fadeout, we see him affecting a semblance of normality as Merritt Patterson sees him onto the school bus in other words, where the oddball outsider has finally been assimilated into an everyday American community, is now going to school and has a girlfriend. Which, when you think about it, represents the complete assimilation and normalising of the vampire just as much as the Twilight series did.
Rufus was the third film for Canadian director Dave Schultz who has previously made the non-genre comedies Jet Boy (2001) and 45 R.P.M. (2008).