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Proxy – 6

Director – Zack Parker

Cast – Joe Swanberg, Kristina Klebe, Alexa Havins, Alexia Rasmussen, Erika Hoveland

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I took my time getting to Proxy because I was not sure if it contained enough horror for a review. Joe Swanberg’s name being attached to the film had me thinking it just might, as he is known these days for his roles in You’re Next, The Sacrament, V/H/S, and A Horrible Way to Die. If anything, I figured this would be a dramatic experience with the horror stemming from the actions of the film’s characters and not those of an unstoppable force, and that was exactly the case. Proxy gives us an interesting tale that unique for the convoluted genre, but it is lackluster at times and definitely not worthy of a two-hour runtime.

In this experience we follow the lives of three parents who have all experienced the loss of a child. Deception brings them together, and a short supply of sanity tears them apart.

The film takes off establishing Esther, a young woman near the end of her pregnancy. It is obvious that this “blessing” is more of a curse to Esther, and her wish for getting the pregnancy “over with” comes true when she is brutally attacked on her way home by a hooded figure. She loses the baby and takes the opportunity to join a support group, where she meets Melanie. Melanie has also experienced a great loss, or so she claims. Meeting Melanie is liberating for Esther, but soon enough it proves to be the worst thing to ever happen to her.

Esther and Melanie’s relationship takes Esther to the edge of her sanity and forces her to make drastic decisions that have a very negative impact on Melanie’s life. Melanie is not without blame though, as she in a sense “opened the door” to such actions, and Melanie’s husband Patrick is the one hit hardest despite having no blame. The story relies heavily on its characters to sell the horror and tension, throwing in a few smaller roles to keep the tension up top. I cannot say that this is a devout horror film but I can see why it has been mentioned and reviewed in other horror sites. The title Proxy is up to debate, but if I had to guess I would assume it has to do with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, which would explain some of the insane antics involved with Melanie’s character. It really is hard to give away more info without ruining some of the film’s revelations, so I will stop there.

Co-writer Zack Parker does a good job executing the film and I feel that is the biggest reason why I stayed engaged during this two-hour experience. He sets the mood early on and sucks you in with the brutality of the opening conflict. The actors provide good performances, with our three main acting protagonists stealing the show while antagonist actor Kristina Klebe was portrayed in cliché fashion. Parker does a good job of bringing tension to the screen and he does so even when the story does not show very much. It is because of scenes like this that I feel Proxy could contend as a “horror” flick, but no scene in the film is better than the slo-mo shotgun death. You HAVE to see that.

Overall, Proxy is an OK experience if you can sit through a film heavy in dramatics. The character play is what sells this piece and while it has its positive moments it is a slight bore overall that will leave you scratching your head in the end.

Rating: 6/10

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