Actors: Joe Swanberg, Kristina Klebe
Director: Zack Parker
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Run Time: 122 minutes
Although bloated in length, the strength of Proxy lies in director Zack Parker’s willingness to allow the film to be carried by mood rather than plot. In that regard, the first hour of the film is an enigma of success. I was absolutely captivated, but the film’s momentum is hijacked by a plot twist in the middle of the film and what worked for the first hour becomes increasingly tiresome by the end of the 122 minute running time. Despite several strands of various themes throughout the film, Parker never commits to any of them enough for the answers to live up to questions raised. With all criticism in consideration, even in failure I was more engaged by the unique filmmaking Parker’s Proxy than all of the safely mediocre horror movies of recent past.
Despite the narrative moving at a leisurely pace, there are some horrifying sequences that are nearly unbearable to watch. The only comparison that I can adequately make is to Takashi Miike’s Audition, which at least had the decency to build to its most shocking images. In contrast, Proxy is anxiety-inducing from the ominous violin shrieking over the studio logos, and the most horrifying moments of the film occur only minutes into the film. This scene involves an attack against a young pregnant woman named Esther Woodhouse (Alexia Rasmussen), who doesn’t seem normal even before the attack. She doesn’t seem to have a connection with any other human being, which changes after the trauma of her attack. In her first meeting at a support group she meets Melanie (Alexa Havins), a new friend with dark secrets of her own.
More than anything, Proxy is a character study, and this ends up being the double-edged sword that both elevates and devastates Parker’s narrative. The characters are all interesting, but there is not a single one of them that is the slightest bit relatable to the audience. There is also some difficulty with the acting. Although this is mostly in regards to the smaller roles, even the leads have uneven moments which are more difficult to take in such a performance-heavy narrative.
The Blu-ray release of Proxy includes over 45-minutes of exclusive bonus features, from a 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette to extensive individual interviews with cast members.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10