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Velocity Home Entertainment presents
The Choke (2005)

"I wish someone would stab me through the heart with a drumstick."
- London (Brooke Bailey)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 20, 2006

Stars: Sam Prudhomme, Sean Cook, Bee Simonds
Other Stars: Tom Olson, Brooke Bailey, Andrew Parker, Wonder Russell, Jason Mckee, Damon Abdallah, David R. Johnson, Jon Fowler, Lila Vlavianos
Director: Juan Mas

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexuality
Run Time: 01h:31m:09s
Release Date: March 21, 2006
UPC: 821575541954
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C C-B-C C+

DVD Review

Toss another log on the bonfire of dead teenager movies, this time with The Choke, in which the members of the titular bickering rock band find themselves trapped in a meat-packing-plant-turned-concert-venue with a crazed killer on the loose. The premise is a bit unique, but the execution dances around some humongous plot holes and ends up with one of those payoffs that is headscratchingly anticlimactic.

The band is made up of a nice cross-section of easily drawn stereotypes (the prima donna vocalist, the Goth girl bassist, the wisecracking drummer), and to fill in the crowd there's a brainy videographer, the virginal girlfriend, a wacky club owner and his sultry, tattooed girlfriend. I suppose if you accept that the fact that they are locked in an old plant with an unknown killer, and can't possibly find one door or window that can be broken or opened is one of those chasm-wide leaps of faith required to roll the happenings of this one. That's a lot to swallow, and considering the square footage of the place seems to rival the Pentagon, it just makes it that much harder to deal with.

Characters are always splitting up and going off on their own (violating that cardinal rule of all dead teenager movies), and director Juan Mas toploads this film with false scare after false scare, until finally at last the bodies start piling up. Why these kids don't seem particularly horrified when they stumble across body after body is a little beyond me, because I imagine if came across a friend who had his heart drilled out I would probably vomit and pass out instead of simply looking concerned before uttering a streetwise comment, and then acting as if nothing had happened by the next scene.

And let's talk about that cover art for a minute. There's a nice shot of someone's face apparently peeled off and nailed up, and for a horror/thriller that seems to be saying that this particular movie will have a grisly scene like that. Well, the sad truth is that it doesn't have a scene with anyone's face peeled off. Nothing even close, as a matter of fact. I call that false advertising.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: There's a widescreen anamorphic transfer, and it works best during scenes with significant lighting, with colors looking bright. Some of the later sequences, set in the dark hallways of the warehouse, get a little muddy. No noticeable debris or specking to contend with.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio choices are English language Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo tracks. The 5.1 track didn't make much use of the rear channels, and it sadly developed an annoying crackle about 1/3 of the way in, lasting on and off for the duration. The stereo track didn't crackle, but the presentation was much less robust, and the volume level was significantly decreased when compared to the 5.1 option.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Cuban Blood, Andre The Butcher
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Juan Mas, Doug Cheney, Susannah Lowber, Jessica Dolan, Jason Payne
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There's a commentary track here with director Juan Mas, editor Jason Payne, director of photography Doug Cheney, and writers Susannah Lowber and Jessica Dolan. Nothing exceptionally revealing in the content, and it's largely technical in nature, with talk about shooting coverage, lighting, etc. Instead of a traditional behind-the-scenes piece there is the "rocumentary" The Choke: The Legend Begins (16m:34s). This short has the cast in character talking about the band, the club, etc. Also included are a couple of trailers, including one for the feature.

The disc is cut into 16 chapters, with optional Spanish subtitles.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Another stab at an overdone genre, The Choke doesn't offer much to make it stand out from the crowded pack. Some decent acting and a couple of interesting characters in a story full of logic holes isn't enough for it to really work.


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