So here I was – scouring the selections on my Netflix account in hopes of finding something I hadn’t seen before to help me bridge the time gap between my recently awakened from nap and my arduous task of microwaving a semblance of dinner in two hours’ time. Netflix is not my ‘Go-To’ platform on which to find movies. Generally, I waste copious amounts of time and effort searching relentlessly for something that I have not yet seen that I could envision being not a complete waste of time. Nine times out of ten, I walk away without finding a watchable title. But today was different as I stumbled across Zack Parker’s 2013 film, Proxy.
I had not heard of Proxy before so I immediately chalked up my lack of educated knowledge on the assumption that the film had to be a low budget straight to DVD/VOD/Netflix effort. Usually these films involve an in-the-shadows killer or, worse still, zombies. I read the brief Netflix description and then went for broke. After all, I had two hours before I had to start poking holes in the plastic that entombed my evening sustenance.
Immediately, I was taken in. An early scene involved a pregnant woman being brutally attacked. It got my attention. I find nothing more brutal than a pregnant woman being viciously attacked. So few films even attempt to film such a shocking exhibition due to the likely unpleasant response from an unsuspecting audience. Gasper Noe’s I Stand Alone and Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s Inside were the only two movies I could immediately refer to with scenes of such graphic repugnance. Proxy went for broke early.
Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) loses the baby as a result of the attack and attempts to cope with the loss by attending a support group recommended by the hospital. It is here she meets Melanie (Alexa Havins), a support group member that is as complex and layered as any character we can remember for a film of this genre. The two spark up a friendship based on their common thread of loss but when Esther learns more of her friend’s private life, she becomes obsessed in a Fatal Attraction kind of way that will propel Proxy in directions that this viewer was unable to be one step ahead of.
There is a lot to love about this small hidden gem. Particularly the clever script courtesy of Kevin Donner and director Zack Parker. References to anything Sir Alfred Hitchcock would have mastered are unavoidable and the plot goes in very unexpected directions particularly when a major character is killed on screen.
Some of the visuals are particularly glorious including the aforementioned death scene which takes place in a household washroom and each of the main four actors are exceptional in their conveyance of multiple emotions sometimes within the very same scene.
Movies like Proxy prove that there are still those hidden gems out there. I am lucky if I find two such films a year – ie. Films that I had never heard of prior that ended up with the highest of recommendations. Maybe I need to give Netflix more love.