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Proxy (film) – Wikipedia
ProxyTheatrical release posterDirected byZack ParkerWritten byKevin Donner Zack ParkerProduced byFaust Checho Zack ParkerStarring
CinematographyJim TimpermanEdited byZack ParkerMusic byThe Newton BrothersProductioncompanies Along the Tracks FSC ProductionsDistributed byIFC MidnightRelease date
September 10, 2013 (TIFF)
April 18, 2014 (U. S. )
Running time120 minutesCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglish
Proxy is a 2013 American horror film directed by Zack Parker, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kevin Donner. It stars Alexia Rasmussen, Alexa Havins, Kristina Klebe, and Joe Swanberg. The movie had its world premiere on September 10, 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival.  It stars Alexia Rasmussen as a pregnant young woman who joins a support group after suffering a stillbirth due to a vicious attack.  The filmmakers describe Proxy as a spiritual successor to the horror film Rosemary’s Baby, and its main character Esther Woodhouse is named after the earlier film’s protagonist Rosemary Woodhouse.
Film rights to Proxy were picked up by IFC Midnight shortly after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. 
While walking home from a doctor’s appointment, heavily pregnant Esther Woodhouse is knocked unconscious by a person wearing a hoodie, who hits her stomach repeatedly with a brick. Despite the frantic efforts of emergency room doctors, her baby is delivered stillborn via caesarean section. Noticing that Esther doesn’t seem to have any support from family or friends (the baby having been conceived with a sperm donor), a social worker at the hospital recommends that Esther attend a support group for grieving parents.
In the support group meetings, Esther meets and befriends Melanie Michaels, a woman who claims her husband and child were killed by a drunk driver. Later on, while visiting a department store, Esther sees Melanie walking in alone and suddenly start screaming that her son Peyton was kidnapped and begging a security guard for help. Esther follows Melanie to the parking lot and witnesses her taking Peyton out of her car and into the store. Esther smiles.
While Esther is home, her attacker suddenly appears and Esther is dragged from the kitchen. The two are shown having sex and is revealed that the attacker is Anika Barön, Esther’s lover who has performed the attack at Esther’s request. Anika jealously inquires about Melanie, but Esther dismisses her.
Later, Esther invites Melanie to her home. Esther asks about Melanie’s family and she sticks to her drunk-driver story. Esther says that she loved being pregnant because it made people pay attention to her, but that she never wanted to be a mother. She kisses Melanie, claiming that Melanie is the only person who understands her. Melanie rejects Esther, who reveals that she knows Peyton is alive. Melanie slaps Esther and demands that Esther never contact her again.
Esther takes Anika’s truck and goes to Melanie’s house. Sneaking in with a crowbar, Esther finds her husband Patrick is also alive. She evades Melanie and Patrick, finding Peyton in the bathroom and drowning him. Melanie enters and discovers his body. Distraught, she is startled by Esther and asks why she killed him. Esther claims that Melanie wanted him dead, and that they can now be together. Patrick returns with a shotgun and kills Esther. Anika, who’d been in jail during this time, learns of her death later and doesn’t believe Esther did what they say, trying to find out the Michaels’ identities to take revenge.
Days pass and the Michaels grieve. Melanie meets her friends for lunch, picks up Peyton’s things from his school, and contacts a newspaper about her child’s murder. Anika visits the newspaper in an attempt to find out who killed Esther, but is removed by their security. Later, Melanie breaks into Esther’s house to retrieve the card with her number on it, where she observes Anika masturbating on Esther’s bed. Patrick, however, seems unhinged. He is disgusted when Melanie suggests they can have another child and fantasizes about having left Esther alive so he could torture her. After noticing Anika’s truck and the fact that it has not moved since the murder, he enters it and finds the registration. However, when he reports it to the police, he is told to stop since it would constitute theft. Patrick also starts attending a support group but finds out from a regular that his wife had been secretly attending for a year and that she had claimed Peyton was kidnapped. Patrick confronts Melanie about the support group and whether she knew Peyton’s murderer. She denies everything and Patrick says he needs to leave her.
Meanwhile, Anika, enraged by Esther’s death, tries to track down the Michaels and finds out where they are from the police informing her about her truck. She goes to the house, ties up Melanie and plans to wait for Patrick, so she can torture and kill them both. Melanie says that he is gone and probably isn’t coming back but Anika hears running water from the bathroom and investigates, believing it is Patrick taking a shower. Instead, she finds him dead. Melanie breaks free and holds Anika at gunpoint and thanks her. Melanie fantasizes about being interviewed on TV two years later, having written a book about her experiences on having both her son and husband murdered by a deranged woman and her revenge-seeking lover, respectively, as well as advocating for child safety and self-defense and ending the interview by announcing that she has remarried and is now pregnant. Anika manages to grab a hammer while Melanie fires the shotgun.
Alexia Rasmussen as Esther Woodhouse
Joe Swanberg as Patrick Michaels
Alexa Havins as Melanie Michaels
Kristina Klebe as Anika Barön
Erika Hoveland as Mary Wilkens
Faust Checho as Detective Allen
Bruce Spielbauer as Marshall Michaels
Xavier Parker as Peyton Michaels
As of July 2020, the film holds a 65% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 26 reviews with an average rating of 5. 50/10. The website’s critic consensus reads: “Proxy’s ambitious reach slightly exceeds its grasp, but its subversive narrative and alluringly dreamlike aesthetic make this horror mystery hard to ignore. “
Bloody Disgusting praised the film as “a joyfully trashy, sinful slice of macabre entertainment”.  Fangoria also gave a positive review, citing the suspense and acting as highlights.  Shock Till You Drop gave a more mixed review, overall praising the film while stating that the second half of the movie “drags a little”.  Reviews from ReelFilm and the Toronto Standard were more negative,  with the Toronto Standard remarking that while the film was a “valiant effort to copy [Hitchcock]”, the movie may have been too ambitious for the budget and actors to live up to. 
^ “Proxy”. TIFF. Archived from the original on 29 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “Proxy – Director Zack Parker Interview”. Fearnet. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “Toronto: IFC Midnight Picks Up North American Rights to Zack Parker’s ‘Proxy'”. Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “Proxy (2014)”. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 Jan 2021.
^ “‘Proxy’ Is A Supremely Twisted, Joyfully Sinful Thriller! “. Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “”PROXY” (TIFF Movie Review)”. Fangoria. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ Doro, Paul. “Fantastic Fest Review: Proxy”. STYD. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “Proxy (review)”. ReelFilm. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
^ “TIFF ’13 Review: Proxy”. Toronto Standard. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
Proxy at IMDb
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Proxy movie review & film summary (2014) | Roger Ebert
Zack Parker’s “Proxy” opens with a scene so inherently shocking that
it required a special warning in the program when the film played at the
Toronto Film Festival for its “deeply disturbing content. ” A quiet
woman named Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) is walking home from her final
ultrasound before giving birth. She’s very pregnant, close to nine
months. With no warning, a hooded attacker knocks her unconscious and
pounds her stomach with a brick, killing the baby. It is the kind of
stomach-churning scene that sends those who just casually see whatever
is playing at their local arthouse that weekend fleeing for the door.
(Trust me, I used to work at such a theater and you would be amazed at
the number of people who just see whatever is playing. )
And yet, while
seasoned filmgoers expect what follows to be a procedural investigation
or motive-detailing explanation of such a horrific event, Parker takes
his film somewhere else entirely. With the blunt force and social
context of creators like Chuck Palahniuk (known in cinematic circles for
“Fight Club” and “Choke, ” but this piece is closer to his fiction like
“Survivor” or the stories of “Haunted”) and Lucky McKee (“May”, “The
Woman”), Parker has made a tough, brutal, and often riveting thriller.
At first, it seems like Esther is understandably unmoored by the
murder of her unborn baby and that “Proxy” will be a dramatic piece
about unimaginable grief. She stares off into space, rides the bus to
the hospital in the middle of the night, and seems to have no human
connection at all. Then she meets Melanie (a truly great turn from Alexa
Havins), a kind soul at a local support group. Melanie and Esther
become quick friends, maybe even more, but there’s something as “off”
about Melanie as there is in our heroine. Parker maintains an uneasy,
unsettling tone even in this first act in the way that he crafts long,
almost intentionally clunky scenes of dialogue between his protagonists
that ooze with the tension of audience expectation. We’ve seen a
pregnant woman attacked. What’s next? And the flat, disaffected
mannerisms of his stars add to the tension. Something is clearly wrong
with Esther. Something is clearly wrong with Melanie. Parker plays with
our anticipation for these character reveals brilliantly.
And then he drops the floor out from under us. More than once. To
give away where “Proxy” goes would be to spoil the unsettling appeal of a
film that continuously foreshadows awful events to come but still
somehow ends up in unexpected places. Two significant others enter the
picture in the form of Esther’s girlfriend Anika (Kristina Klebe) and
Melanie’s husband Patrick (filmmaker Joe Swanberg). Minor roles are
filled out by performers who seem intentionally inexperienced, adding to
the unease throughout the entire, admittedly long film. The amateurish
aspects of the production don’t detract from it as much as give it an
eerie, lived-in quality that makes it harder to shake, not unlike some
of the early works of David Cronenberg, another filmmaker who loved to
plumb the horrific depths of everyday life. Parker writes very casual
dialogue and doesn’t fussily edit his film, allowing the horror to arise
from or shatter the mundane. He can sometimes take a beat or two too
long and there’s a probably tighter version of “Proxy” that’s about 20
minutes shorter, but Parker still finds ways to sustain the unease.
There’s a whole branch of thriller/horror literature and film that
works to keep those engaged with it guessing as to where it’s going, but
most of it seems random or haphazard in its structure. “Proxy” never
does. It’s a film that opens with the death of a baby and yet that isn’t
really even what it ends up being about (even if everything that
follows wouldn’t without that incident). It’s a film that I kept trying
to get ahead of—THIS is what it’s “about, ” where it’s going, what the
title means, etc. —but Parker kept going left when I expected him to go
right. It’s a daring, confident, absolutely brutal film that takes no
prisoners. It’s the kind of film that will likely be loathsome to those
morally unwilling to not only accept its descent into darkness but also
accept that the darkness that makes it so riveting is based on human
Brian Tallerico is the Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.
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Proxy (2013) – IMDb
Awards2 nominationsVideos1While walking home from her latest OB appointment, a very pregnant Esther Woodhouse is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. This horrible event seems to be a blessing in disguise when Esther finds consolation in a support group. Her life of sadness and solitude is opened up to friendship, understanding, and even acceptance. However, friendship and understanding can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people. —AnonymousPlot summaryAdd synopsisGenresDramaHorrorThrillerCertificateNot RatedParents guideBy what name was Proxy (2013) officially released in Canada in English? AnswerRecently viewedPlease enable browser cookies to use this feature. Learn more.