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Proxy's ambitious reach slightly exceeds its grasp, but its subversive narrative and alluringly dreamlike aesthetic make this horror mystery hard to ignore.
All Critics (25)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (15)
| Rotten (10)
[With] performances better suited to a high school play
Parker has made a tough, brutal, and often riveting thriller.
When almost everyone on screen is nursing a pathology, interest in their fates is far from guaranteed.
Whatever "Proxy" lacks in narrative cohesion and psychological realism, it makes up for in its compelling fever-dream quality and its probing questions about the darker side of parenting.
Proxy's greatest attribute is its deliberate dismantling of the audience's assumptions. Writer-director Zack Parker has made a genre whatsit whose central mystery lies in the stealth motivations of its characters.
Like a lot of conspiracy thrillers, the questions it raises prove more compelling than the answers it slowly teases out.
Parker's slow burn and chilly-minded Proxy is an intensifying horror vehicle that sneaks up on one's nervous system with its observational dark character studies and creepy tension that builds gradually while creating an understated complexity of fear.
Even with these flaws, Proxy is a fascinating film.
The film is overly long, has its vantage point changed too often, and proves more confusing than entertaining.
The movie has the kind of psychological plausibility that a fever dream does, the kind Blue Velvet does.
Proxy is too many conflicting movies crammed into a daunting 2 hour run time. Zack Parker juggles too many plates at once, and they all come crashing down simultaneously.
It seems director Parker could well have made his point and maintained his dramatic impact without creating such a sadistic streak that emanates through the narrative.
In some ways you could say that this film's reach exceeds its grasp, but it's also an interesting character study on people, in this case two women, who seek attention to the point they would either pretend their son and husband were dead, in the case of Melanie, and, in the case of Esther, have your girlfriend knock you out with a brick and kill your unborn child. This isn't the type of characters that you see in movies every day and, for that, I must give the movie props. This is certainly a taboo subject that I think some would be scared to shine a spotlight on. It's an issue that most people would rather pretend doesn't exist, but it is very real. This is something very real, people seeking attention to the point that they'd be willing to purposely harm someone they love, whether it be their child, family member, significant other, in order to get attention from people. That's sick and disturbing and it's surprising that no one, to my knowledge, has made a movie about this subject. But I don't think this movie is perfect, the narrative certainly isn't great, it goes all over the place with too many characters too focus on, and too little time, the acting isn't particularly great, and I don't think the film does a great job at creating a truly compelling story about these people. There's so much more that could've been done with these characters than what was actually done. Getting into their psyche, explore what makes these people think these thoughts. Explore the reasoning behind their actions. These are all things this movie doesn't do. You could say that Melanie wanted to achieve fame at the expense of her family's life, but that's about it. World's Greatest Dad, one of Robin Williams', RIP, more underrated performances, explored this theme better. Someone using a personal tragedy to improve their position in life. Ultimately, and this is something mentioned in a review here, that the answers the film offers aren't as interesting as the questions it poses. I agree with that completely, but I still found, at the very least, this film to be good enough to warrant a Netflix watch. It's not flawless, it's overlong with too many characters and no real narrative focus, but it's still a good movie, in my opinion, I wouldn't blame anyone who ended up hating this movie, it requires a lot of patience. But I believe Zack Parker is a filmmaker to keep an eye out for, as he can only get better. At least you'd hope.
It is difficult to process Proxy as a whole, because as film, it is divided into two segments both characterized by loss, obsession, deceit, and violence. Additionally, Proxy operates under two separate genres--horror and drama, in that order. It is told in a linear storyline and progresses in what feel like various acts, each separated by fizzled-out darkness and a dramatic change in tone.
At any rate, Proxy is incredibly intelligent in its design and highly original in plot. The art-house horror ambiance never leaves the atmosphere, and neither does the film's overwhelming sense of sadness and despair. It is both Hitchcockian in film technique and Lynchian in tone--perhaps a combination of each.
Proxy, as previously mentioned, is two separate tales told in one linear storyline with the same characters. Due to spoilers, it is difficult to pinpoint the dramatic shift in thematic tone, but the outstandingly artistic and blood-curdling gore ought to be a good indicator of a film's dividing shift.
Proxy progresses with both horrific shocks and artistic finesse, and best of all, does not disappoint during its final act. It is mind-bogglingly horror-drama told in fantastic form, and deserves acclaim for its artistic originality and thematic symbolism amongst the blood and the suffering. Proxy's dark tone, explicit gore, and sexuality make it a horror success, but its stylish avant-garde blood-splatter and metaphorical representations make it genre-defining.
As unconventional as they come, "Proxy" is among the indiest films to be released into world-wide film festivals and I must say that this film truly blew my mind. It's not the greatest sounding film, but down to it's core, it's a real human drama and you will come to hate every character in the film by the end. After a woman is viciously attacked 2 weeks to the birth of her new son, the plot opens up to infinite possibilities. You will wonder who the mugger is, where they came from, why they are doing what they are doing, and most importantly, if any of the characters are truly sane. This film borrows a couple elements from "The Shining," and visual styles that have clearly been influenced by Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive." Director Zack Parker is definitely an up and comer who should never leave the industry, because with an improved technical team, he can really make a masterpiece. "Proxy" earns just enough credit to be one of my favourites in 2013. With some awesome slow motion and solid performances all around, this film is terrific!
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