Proxy (2013, Zack Parker)

“I would never hurt you. I just came to do the things you couldn’t do.”

Nice, unusual twisty horror/thriller, with a different (slower) editing rhythm. Opens with a victim (pregnant woman whose belly is smashed by a street robber) who turns out to be less of a victim than once thought – and crazier. In fact, everyone here is somewhat of a victim, somewhat of an unsympathetically insane, traumatized monster.

The formerly pregnant Ester meets Melanie (Alexa Havins of Torchwood) at a dead-children support group. But wait, Ester’s jealous girlfriend Anika is actually the one who robbed/beat Ester, at Ester’s request. But wait, Melanie’s son isn’t dead or missing, she just enjoys playing the victim. Ester discovers this and solves it by sneaking into Melanie’s home and drowning her son, then gets shot by Mel’s husband Joe Swanberg (first time I’ve seen him in a good movie), prompting a revenge spree from Anika.

M. D’Angelo for Dissolve:

Still, the film’s excellence lies not in its “twists” (which are actually just straightforward actions made uncanny by the withholding of ordinary emotional cues), but in its unemphatic portrait of aberrant behavior. In more ways than one, Proxy doesn’t have a protagonist—just various individuals struggling to maintain a façade of normalcy.