The easiest way to describe this fantastic movie and give it the credit it deserves is to say that it’s like Psycho, but updated for modern times. Just like in Hitchcock’s classic, the horror stems not from gore or the supernatural, but instead from something much more horrifying: extremely disturbing behavior.
Malicious insanity wrapped in a normal-looking package scares well. We’ve all seen it. We all know it exists. We’ve all heard the comment, “He seemed like such a nice guy,” said about a murderer, pedophile or other horrible person.
Psycho wove under your skin at many levels. First there was the horror of the killing, then the eerie tension of watching the killer hide the body. Lastly, the final reveal of the mother’s corpse in the attic. It was a hat-trick of creepiness. The word now has a complete description in movie form.
For those who don’t know, there’s a mental illness called Munchausen syndrome. That’s when a person pretends to be suffering to get others’ sympathy. Munchausen By Proxy is when a person intentionally harms a loved one in order to get sympathy. In today’s world of attention addiction, you can start to see how this is ripe ground for storytelling.
“That person’s a psycho.” Such a phrase is solidly entrenched in American vernacular. If this movie gets the attention it deserves, it will receive the same honor. “That chick on Facebook is always worrying out loud about her kids’ health. She’s a total proxy.” Perhaps the usage isn’t clinically accurate, but the meaning will be.
This is the best type of art. It’s a great film on a mystery level as you try to understand what’s happening. It has that rare combination of shock and surprise, then backs it up with substance. It also says a little something about our world. In parts it feels a little long, but it’s a must-see.