A very pregnant Esther Woodhouse (Rasmussen) is walking home after her latest OB appointment, when she is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. When Esther seeks consolation in a support group, she finds friendship and empathy in Melanie (Havins), another mother scarred with tragedy. Esther soon begins to believe that the horrific event might be a bittersweet act of fate. However, friendship and empathy can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people.
Mike Pereira turns in his final review out of the Toronto International Film Festival, raving out Zack Parker’s Proxy, a pretty harsh horror drama about a woman who copes with the loss of her unborn child.
“It unapologetically aims for the audience’s throat and doesn’t waste any time in doing so,” says Mike in his rave review. “This is one deliciously perverse thriller. Parker unflinchingly rifles through one shocking twist after another, daring its audience to walk out of the theater in disgust.
He adds: “Proud and fully aware, Proxy is a joyfully trashy, sinful slice of macabre entertainment.”
Click either link above for the entire review. READ MORE
I have an affinity towards movies unafraid to revel in dark, seedy territory especially when they place a magnifying glass against flawed, often disturbed people making very flawed and fatal decisions. There’s something compelling, tragic and incredibly tension-filled about tales of human frailty. Greats such as Fargo, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Killer Joe are perfect examples on how it’s done to maximum effect. Co-Writer/Director Zack Parker’s Proxy is the latest and it’s a doozy. It unapologetically aims for the audience’s throat and doesn’t waste any time in doing so.
Proxy deals with Esther Woodhouse (Alexia Rasmussen), a pregnant woman who out of the blue is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant. This traumatic event leads her to a support group where she befriends another “scarred” woman (Alexa Havins). From this point on, things spiral to unimaginable, batshit crazy heights. This is as far as I’ll go. Proxy is one of those films best experienced with the least amount of prior knowledge. That’s how I went into it. The movie starts off on a serious vein. It hits its first disturbing blow by the second scene and keeps you uneasy for the remainder of its duration. The tone in Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s non-stop fright-fest, Inside aka À l’intérieur comes to mind. As the plot begins to steer in unexpected directions, Proxy begins to reveal its darkly humorous side.
The cast plays the Bish material without a wink. A lot of it comes across as kind of hammy yet I found it did right by the tone. The straight-faced conviction really brings out the sick humor. Joe Swanberg as Patrick Michaels (You’re Next, The Sacrament) is amusing as always. Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) stands out from the crowd as Esther’s amusingly aggressive girlfriend, Anika Barön. She is obviously having a blast with the character. As the humor becomes more prevalent, the more enjoyable she gets. Klebe delivers of the year’s standout performances. The only issue acting-wise stems from the weak supporting players. The stiffness of these performers can distract on occasion. These cast members generally disappear after a scene but the film does have its share of them. Strangely this reoccurring thing endeared me more to the movie.
Proxy takes on a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to the cinematography. It was shot in the 2.35 :1 aspect ratio which lends itself well to this type of clean, wide imagery. Parker unexpectedly goes stylized for one pivotal sequence in which he uses the Phantom high-speed camera for ultra-dramatic effect. The use of slo-mo nods to the works of Brian De Palma, as well as Lars Von Trier’s haunting opener inAntichrist. A lot of viewers will be turned off by the often over-lit, flat environments yet it does lend the world a reality that might not have been achieved if they went the other direction. It’s debatable. Proxy’s classy Bernard Herrmannesque score is perfectly in sync with Parker’s melodrama. Also responsible for Oculus’ soundtrack, composing duo The Newton Brothers have created two of the finer genre scores of 2013.
This is one deliciously perverse thriller. Parker unflinchingly rifles through one shocking twist after another, daring its audience to walk out of the theater in disgust. If one unexpected plot point doesn’t revolt you enough, there is another one waiting in the wing, more than eager to try. By conventional wisdom, Proxy is a bad picture. I wouldn’t argue with anyone that despises it because the criticisms can be valid. Considering I adore such sordid affairs as John McNaughton’s Wild Things and De Palma’s Body Double, Proxy totally spoke to me. Those films’ success (at least for me) stems from its handling of tone. What keeps them from ever becoming mean-spirited (a huge feat) is their over-the-top approach. The dark humor is always bubbling within the surface. The viewer is allowed to have fun at the characters’ expense and the ridiculousness of the situation. Proud and fully aware, Proxy is a joyfully trashy, sinful slice of macabre entertainment.
Proxy made its world premiere Sept. 10 in the Vanguard section of the Toronto International Film Festival and will play next at the 2013 Fantastic Fest. IFC Midnight is planning a theatrical and VOD day-and-date release for the film.
Alexia Rasmussen, Alexa Havins, Kristina Klebe and Joe Swanberg star in the film, which “centers on a pregnant young woman who seeks consolation in a support group after she is viciously attacked by a hooded assailant. Gradually she comes to realize that nothing and no one in her life are as they appear.”
Proxy was produced by Parker and Faust Checho and executive produced by Mike Khamis. READ MORE
Bloody Disgusting is excited to share the first ever images from the indie thriller Proxy.
Directed by Zack Parker, of the critically acclaimed Scalene, the film stars Alexia Rasmussen (The Comedy, “Mary Not Seen,” the short film that would become Martha Marcy May Marlene), Alexa Havins (“Torchwood”), Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Joe Swanberg (V/H/S, A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next).
In the film, “A very pregnant Esther Woodhouse (Rasmussen) is walking home after her latest OB appointment, when she is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. When Esther seeks consolation in a support group, she finds friendship and empathy in Melanie (Havins), another mother scarred with tragedy. Esther soon begins to believe that the horrific event might be a bittersweet act of fate. However, friendship and empathy can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people.”
Proxy is a European-style suspense-thriller that promises to challenge the traditional cinematic form. The screenplay was penned by Parker and Kevin Donner, and is being produced by Parker’s Along The Tracks Productions and Faust Checho’s FSC Productions. READ MORE
A perceptual thriller told from three points-of-view revolving around the rape of a female college student by a mentally handicapped man and his mother’s subsequent revenge after his incarceration.
With a Hitchcockian score and credit sequence, Scalene immediately draws the viewer into its incredibly well-written, well-performed and well-captured story. Through the different points of view, the film tells the tale of Paige Alexander (Hanna Hall from Rob Zombie’s Halloween), a college girl who has taken on caring for Jakob Tremble, a 26 year old who suffered brain damage years before which left him mute and childlike. His over-protective mother, Janice (Margot Martindale from Dexter) may or may not be abusing him out of frustration with his disabilities interfering with her life.
May or may not: that is the beauty of the movie.
While most films are told from one angle, sometimes leaving few questions as for motive and drive of characters, Scalene gives options for the audience to choose from. Twists, turns and moments of enlightenment make for an enjoyable ride that is unlike most movies made these days.
Margo Martindale’s performance alone is worth watching this movie. If anyone remembers her brief yet powerful performance as Camilla on Dexter, they remember she is brutally convincing in character. She brings it again to the role of Janice. In a simple scene where Janice and her boyfriend sit in a diner – discussing Jakob and his condition – Janice picks at a piece of chocolate cake. That brief moment, Martindale’s acting captures the grand love and, at the same time, irritation, Janice feels.
Hanna Hall brings the same obvious devotion to her craft. Paige is almost a real person as she cares for Jakob, finding painful bruises on his body. Hall’s face alone evokes so many emotions in a simple crunch that her heart wrenching performance of someone trying to save a poor young man from possible abuse is awesome. The story from her point of view flows flawlessly and her chemistry with Adam Scarimbolo’s Jakob completes the film. Scarimbolo’s ability to pull of Jakob’s condition is uncanny. Watching the simple repeated motions he makes throughout the film – and how believable they are – it’s upsetting that he hasn’t secured bigger roles in his career. An amazing scene is him in the simple act of brushing his teeth. Yes, brushing his teeth.
While Scalene is full of marvelous acting, the true star of this movie is the crew behind it – starting with Zach Parker and Brandon Owen crafting a formidable script. Being a simple, relevant story, the two made each point of view unique and vibrant. There are multiple twists and turns – some of which required a second viewing on my part to catch. And even with a second viewing, I was far from bored. I was still intrigued and in awe. The editing of each story – told backwards, scattered, linear – is incredibly refreshing. While most stories are stuck with everything laid out and quite obvious, Scalene offers incredible depths beyond its three points of view. Each story flows into the next and the dedication and passion are completely shown.
The crews’ dedication is definitely shown in the Blu-ray edition – which includes a 3.5 hour documentary on the making of the film – Perceiving Reality: The Making of Scalene. While a long watch, seeing the craft behind the scenes is thorough and interesting.
As humans, we all have moments in our lives where we encounter someone – anywhere from a narrowed encounter to a sequence of brief moments – and feel a drive to help them in their situation. Sometimes the negative consequences of trying to help someone outweigh the possible positive outcomes. Scalene is definitely a thriller that surveys this, testing the waters from three points of view.
Named one of the “Seven Fresh Faces of Sundance 2012” by Gen Art, Alexia Rasmussen, along with Alexa Havins (“Torchwood”) have joined the cast of the indie-thriller, Proxy. Directed by Zack Parker of the critically acclaimed Scalene, which releases everywhere on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD on July 31st, the film is being produced by Parker’s Along The Track Productions, and Faust Checho’s FSC Productions. The screenplay was penned by Parker and Kevin Donner, and is also set to star Kristina Klebe (pictured; Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Joe Swanberg (V/H/S, Youre Next, A Horrible Way to Die).
“A very pregnant Esther Woodhouse (Rasmussen) is walking home after her latest OB appointment, when she is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. When Esther seeks consolation in a support group, she finds friendship and empathy in Melanie (Havins), another mother scarred with tragedy. Esther soon begins to believe that the horrific event might be a bittersweet act of fate. However, friendship and empathy can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people.
‘Proxy’ is a European-style suspense-thriller that promises to challenge the traditional cinematic form.”
Parker will reunite with The Newton Brothers to compose the score, and Jim Timperman will return as Director of Photography to lens the film. A notable addition to Parker’s crew is seasoned Special F/X Make-Up artist James Ojala (“True Blood”, Hellboy II, Lady in the Water, X-Men: Last Stand).
Celebrated indie director Zack Parker (Quench, Inexchange) returns with is third feature, Scalene, starring Margo Martindale (Million Dollar Baby, Orphan), Adam Scarimbolo (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), and Hanna Hall (Rob Zombie’s Halloween).
“SCALENE is a perceptual thriller told from three points-of-view revolving around the rape of a female college student by a mentally handicapped man and his mother’s subsequent revenge.”
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Photographed in the warm beauty of a Midwestern autumn, QUENCH tells the story of Derik, a young man grieving over the recent death of an unknown loved one. After finding no one to turn to, Derik decides to abandon his current life at college to visit Jason. Although best friends since grade school, the two have not seen or spoken to one another in three years.
Once they have reunited, Derik soon realizes that Jason is no longer the friend he once knew. Not only has he dramatically changed his external appearance, but he is now a part of a mysterious group, a Family.
A truly unique, stylish, and compelling film, QUENCH is sure to challenge, unsettle, and enlighten any audience that is curious to step deep inside of a world that lives right beneath them.
“INEXCHANGE” is a low-budget, psychological horror film best described as a cross between “CARRIE” and “PSYCHO,” with a visual style reminiscent of “THE SHINING.”