STUDIO: Velocity Home Entertainment
MSRP: $24.98
RUNNING TIME: 92 Minutes
• Behind-the-scene featurette
• Feature commentary w/ director and crew
• Trailer gallery

The Pitch

a hip Ten Little Indians, but we ditched all that subtext shit."

The Humans

A bunch
of lovable Spokanites (presumably) who haven’t appeared in anything else. Here
are their names: Brooke Bailey, Sean Cook, Tom Olson, Sam Prudhomme, Bee Simonds,
Wonder Russell.

The Nutshell

local band The Choke are gearing up for what will turn out to be their final
performance. Lead singer Dylan and guitarist Mike have decided to cut the band
and head out on their own. They’re just waiting for the perfect time to spring
the news on the rest of the band.

their appearance on stage, at a rezoned meat-packing plant called Club 905,
Mike goes missing. Then a slut is found mutilated in a meat locker. Then, worst
of all, the beer runs out!

The band,
and a couple of hangers-on, are about the face the longest night of their brief
lives trapped in the warehouse as some crazed killer picks them off one by one.

In his teenage years, young Frankie Castle struggled to find an outlet for his rage.

The Lowdown

There is
an old adage. It goes, "Nothing good comes from
Spokane." It’s not completely
accurate, though.
Spokane spat out Bing Crosby, Sherman Alexie,
and the Penny Arcade boys, as well as housed yours truly during his formative
college years. It’s also the home of North by Northwest Productions, who helped
produce this flick, and served as setting for the story. (Though it’s only
referred to as "here" in the movie, the daring daylight escape at the
climax shows the lopsided, pointless circus tent of
Riverfront Park.)

The point
I ought to get around to making is that location isn’t everything. I’d love to
rag some more on
Spokane, but this movie would have been
mediocre anywhere.

It’s a
low-budget thriller, which means the dialogue is corny, the characters are
stick-thin, the plot is borrowed, and the gore seems to have eaten up the
budget. The paranoid plot device of trying to figure out which of the
characters is the killer is kind of hammered in around the edges, with no good
reason for its existence other than to artificially create tension.

The funny
thing is, there didn’t need to be an artificiality in the tension, with a
couple re-writes on the script. There is a nugget of teenage politics at the
center of the film that is compelling enough to carry the character
interactions. It takes too long to reach it, and then once it has been reached
the conclusion appears too quickly, but it’s there.

Also to
be listed among the film’s positives are: the presence of alterna-chicks, the
few honestly dramatic or funny lines, the times the actors nail those lines,
and the gore. The kill sequences are over-edited, but the blood and viscera are
pretty damn good.

For an
audience that enjoys imitation, The Choke is a passable entry. It’s
got a few peaks and a few valleys, and that turns the whole into something
almost deadline average.

The conscientious killer punctuates.

The Package

bonuses, the disc features a behind-the-scenes featurette, a trailer gallery,
and a commentary track with director Juan Mas and some of the crew. The
commentary track manages to avoid the pretension that labors a large number of
indie flicks, and is about as informative as it is fun.

The audio
is presented in either 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo. The only quibble I have with
the soundtrack is that it is occasionally overpowered by crap mall-punk. Once
in a while, this happens during moments of dialogue. The music is annoying
enough on its own, but as an obstacle to enjoying the film, it downright sucks.

The video
is decent, in anamorphic widescreen, but the blacks are all over the place.
Some shots have got some rich shadows, others can’t quite figure out the
difference between black and purple.

And the
cover? Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the movie, so all you
face-stitch fetishists can go somewhere else. I’m sure fabfunk has a thread
about your brand of depravity on our message board.

5.1 out of 10