Proxy Film Review – Psychological Thriller Gone Awry

At first glance, Proxy is a well-made psychological thriller that will keep the audience on the edge of its seat.  Unfortunately, that was not the case with this film.  The storyline took turns that were never explained.  The ending felt rushed and there were issues with continuity.  The script needs some cleanup; attention to some of the details.  While there were many positive aspects to the film, these issues severely detracted from any theatrical promise this film might have.

Alexia Rasmussen in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

Alexa Havins in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

 The opening scene is attention grabbing.  Pregnant Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) is attacked while walking to the bus stop after her OB-GYN checkup; the attacker knocks her out and repeatedly bludgeons the baby belly with a brick; very believable blood oozing from the belly, head and her vaginal area.  Esther is found and rushed to the hospital where a very graphic c-section is performed; Esther is spared but the baby is not.  A stiff and uncomfortable Detective Allen (Faust Checho) and equally stiff social worker (Erika Hoveland) visit Esther in the hospital and recommend a support group for the loss.  Esther is released and finds her goldfish has died when she arrives home (is this supposed to be symbolic?).  Esther turns out to have a very jealous lesbian lover, Anika, (Kristina Klebe) but later Esther is shown having sex in a bar bathroom with two creepy men, presumably to cope.  The next day, Esther attends a support group meeting where she meets Melanie Michaels (Alexa Havins). The overly friendly, optimistic and almost bubbly Melanie presents a friendship that helps the dower Esther come back to life.  That is, until Esther voyeuristically stumbles upon Melanie and her son, Peyton who is supposed to be deceased.

Alexia Rasmussen in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

Esther later confronts Melanie about the ruse and Melanie calls off the friendship.  Not willing to let it go (because there would be no continuing storyline), Esther continues to stalk Melanie, watching her and her, very much alive, family from a truck in the street.  Esther grabs a crowbar (not sure why as she is not in any real danger), and proceeds to sneak into the unlocked house.  She proceeds up the stairs where the very small son is running his own bath (not sure why).  Esther drowns him.  Melanie enters and becomes visibly upset at the real death of her son.  She and Esther have words (which make the story even more confusing) and Melanie’s husband, Patrick (Joe Swanberg), is suddenly there with a semi- automatic rifle.  Patrick shoots Esther through her grotesque stomach (complete with scars from the unsuccessful c-section from the beginning of the movie).  Esther falls into the tub full of water.  Patrick shoots her in the head; blood and chunks of brain spew everywhere.

Joe Swanberg in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

Patrick sinks into a depression.  Melanie is upset but is shockingly ready to move on and have another baby.  Esther’s female lover, Anika, appears on the scene enraged over the murder of her lover.  Anika ties up Melanie and they have words over where Patrick is.  Anika hears the shower and proceeds up to confront Patrick.  Melanie is able to free herself and grabs the semi-automatic rifle from the kitchen.  She stops Anika on the stairs.  A very strange dream sequence is inserted here; Melanie is interviewed by a news anchor after publishing a book on coping with the death of a child.  She announces she remarried and is now pregnant.  In the middle of her answer, the dream sequence is stopped and back to “reality.”  Anika asks who Melanie is talking to and Melanie shoots Anika.

Alexa Havins in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

The script has several holes and several instances of unrealistic dialogue which is never resolved.  The pacing is slow and there were issues with fact checking in the script.  For instance, it would not be realistic for a woman who is only two weeks away from her due date to just, at that point, be discussing if she wants to know the sex of the baby with the OB-GYN technician.  The direction was mediocre and some of the acting was less than stellar.  However, standout performances were given by Havins (the only member of the cast with any real credits) and Klebe (who also has a handful of respectable credits).  This debut screen role for Rasmussen was flat; she brought no depth to the main character.  There was absolutely no change in her facial expression; perhaps this was intentional but it left the title character very uninteresting and incredibly boring to the detriment of the film.

Alexia Rasmussen in PROXY. Photo (C) Jim Timperman Along The Tracks Productions, Inc./IFC Midnight

Notable aspects of the film were the film score and special FX.  Thank goodness for the music talent because it set the intended tone of each scene, which wasn’t always apparent from the script or acting.  Another positive aspect of the film was the special FX and special FX makeup; INCREDIBLE.  I had to turn my head away at a few of the instances because of the gore factor.  Commendable job.  Cinematography was decent but the color correction was less than to be desired in a few spots. 

Generally, this film is not a recommendation.  The film may appeal to those who love a gory movie but even those scenes are few and far between.  The film does not quite rise to the level of horror usually enjoyed by that genre.  Unfortunately, Proxy falters. 

 

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