Take a Drink: every time public workers or staff members says something ridiculously unsupportive
Take a Drink: whenever you start to suspect Melanie is pulling a Helena Bonham Carter
Take a Drink: for every earth-shattering twist
Take a Drink: for every death
Do a Shot: when you need it (first for me: less than 5 minutes in)
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I’m as much of a Hollywood gorehound as, well, pretty much everybody considering what you wedge into an R rating these days (enough exploding brains and intestines to paint a duplex= good. A human vagina= bad.) One thing I don’t do, though, is violence to babies or pregnant women.
Nope. You win, cinema.
Proxy begins with exactly that. A pregnant woman, Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) walking home from her ultrasound appointment is assaulted by a brick-wielding stranger… which is as horrible as it sounds. After she recovers physically, she goes to a support group for parents who have lost children. There she meets an oddly chipper woman, Melanie (Alexa Havins) who befriends her. But, since this is a horror film, nothing is what it seems. Holy fuck, is nothing what it seems.
One mark of a truly great film, in my opinion, is its capacity to surprise me. Proxy pulled the rug out from under me not just once, but several times.
Director Zack Parker does a great job of building suspense and dread while keeping you in the dark plot-wise, then completely upending your view of the film when and how you least expect it. Characters remain ciphers until their true selves are revealed, and then drag the film kicking and screaming to Crazytown. It’s marvelous.
Filmmaking-wise, Parker and DP Jim Timperman shot a slick film with some inspired, and brutal, use of slow-motion. One mid-film sequence of violence is positively operatic in its sun-dappled water droplets and fountain-esque arterial spray.
Hannibal would approve.
This film could’ve been something truly great if it had created characters you particularly care live or die. Part of this is the acting, which feels very much like… acting. It’s mediocre daytime TV-caliber at best, which is occasionally distracting.
More damaging, though, is how the film is built around its twists, and not its characters. Admittedly, keeping character motivates a mystery plays a large part in keeping you engaged and ignorant of what’s to come, but a reflection Parker tries to pull a Hitchcock while missing three primary ingredients of his genius- character, pacing, and airtight plotting.
Otherwise known as “pulling a Shyamalan”
Proxy isn’t what I’d call a great film, but its zero fuck-giving attitude towards traditional plot structure, shocking revelations, and brutal violence make it an absolute must-see for gorehounds and horror aficionados.