We live in a world where witnessing strange things is a daily occurrence. If I was to walk the streets of downtown Toronto today, I would likely come across many characters who I would personally find unusual. I am referring to people who continuously break the norm and react differently than how the general folk would expect! These days I would not be surprised to see someone walk by me wearing socks on his or her hands. It would not even shock me to see a RICH person begging for change in an effort to make some extra cash. While strange can be humorous...strange can also be horrifying. How many people have been killed for strange reasons that make absolutely no sense? Just a few days ago, two young girls attempted to murder a friend over the belief that internet myth Slender-Man would kill their families if they did not. Or how about the case of the marijuana dealer who shot a customer who refused to give him $5 in change? Folks have died over everything from a parking spot to a stolen Xbox! Director Zack Parker embraces the strange with his strange horror film Proxy which features strange characters doing strange things.
Esther Woodhouse (Rusmussen) is a pregnant lady who is suddenly knocked down by a hooded attacker on the way home from an Ob-Gyn appointment. The attacker raises a brick and begins to brutally bash her belly before the camera cuts away. Strange opening right? With her baby unable to be saved, Esther joins support group meetings in an effort to get over her loss. She meets a lady named Melanie (Havins) and this is where Proxy undergoes a change towards the even stranger. What happens from here? Sorry for the cliche...but that is for me to know and you to find out! I will point out that the main driving force behind Proxy is that it is incredibly unique and challenging to compare to any other horror films in the genre. It is completely unconventional and dare I say...unpredictable. Every major character is bat-shit insane and despite certain critics suggesting that the film is solely focusing on how crazy women are....Patrick (Swanberg)is quite nutty and also an important character. He has a penis...and joins the list of characters with a thirst for bonkers! The actual message (if one is even present) behind this flick is a challenging one to put a finger on! I believe that anything from bad parenting to select scenes being a exaggerated metaphor for abortions would suffice as possibilities.
Proxy is merciless with the amount of twists and turns that it attempts to toss at viewers. Are they logical? Not always! Are they twisted enough to be effective twists? Damn right! Does it make the film worth viewing? This is where I have to pause! While I appreciate the strong originality and daring premise, Zack Parker's latest horror thriller is not without its flaws. First of all, viewers have to get past the fact that the characters are far from your average neighbor. Put Charles Mansion, John Wayne Gacy, Aileen Wuornos and Cathy Wood in a house together for a comparison! This basically means that folks are forced to be accepting of the fact that each character is demented and highly capable of murder without any neutral character to sympathize with. Along with this grip, viewers are required to ignore a few plot-holes, deal with an excessive amount of dull dialogue, settle with a padded two-hour run-time that occasionally moves at a snail-like pace, and put up with a mixed bag in terms of acting quality. The production value gives off a sort of amateurish feel which is sure to turn off a viewer or two! I personally believe that it is fitting for this style of plot and my years of viewing independent films make it something that does not bother me.
The reason that I had to pause earlier is because Proxy cannot be dismissed altogether despite the above-mentioned flaws. In ways it is brilliant with Zack Parker and Kevin Donner demonstrating their ability to constantly change directions with the narrative to the point where Proxy is thrilling to try and decipher. Attempting to predict what will happen next only for the screenwriters to dodge expected outcomes is an unmistakably intriguing experience. This film also deserves credit for delivering a few beautifully shot sequences that are extremely aesthetically pleasing! The shotgun scene is noteworthy enough for a personal mention! Proxy features an eerie revenge-based plot that manages to be disturbing while erotic, face-palm worthy yet compelling and imaginative, albeit flawed! I certainly do not regret viewing it but I would be hesitant with who I suggest it too! It is certainly ambitious enough to deserve my respect!
Superpower Film Scale: 3/5
1: Villainous Waste
2: Careless Bystander
3: Hero unaware of powers
4: On the verge of greatness
5: Heroic film
Standout acting heroes: Joe Swanberg
Photo credit: Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB
Original Article: thycriticman.com