New Horror Releases: Sun Choke (2016) - Reviewed

Sun Choke is out in limited run theaters and VOD this weekend. See it. 

Reveling in heavenly beauty and unadulterated feminine madness, Sun Choke is a trippy piece of film centered on three differing personalities, sexual obsession, and blood soaked perversions of violence. And the little bit of gore is nothing to sneeze at either. When this thing kicks off, it allows its brutality to shine. 

Breaking from the modern horror norms that fill our inbox on a weekly basis, Sun Choke comes along and changes the game with a vividly lit and colorfully artistic new take on the genre. With washed out schemes and an ethereal shift in tone that tries to redefine a mostly tired genre, the movie kicks right in with an artistic look and a mood that's strangely creepy but satisfying on the eyes. Droning musical notes and a steady flow of close-up shots immediately lets the viewer know that this isn't typical horror fare. Through the use of cool and collected cinematography and three dynamic lead women, Sun Choke is modern independent horror redefined as character driven art house cinema. 

I hope you brought the soap. 

Straying from the glut of slasher flicks, possession movies, and found footage features, Sun Choke  abandons what we know of horror as a whole and turns it on its head. Taking us outside the realm of darkness and putting its audience into the daylight is a stark change of scenery for its targeted audience. Sterile looking environments, slow but defined pacing, and a steady use of mystery totally makes this worth a watch. Unlike what we usually see from this genre, Sun Choke takes its subject matter very seriously, which makes the main characters and story much more believable and ambiguous. Armed with a heightened sense of realism, the director finds a unique balance between making this play like a portrait come to life and a hard lined psychological thriller. Luckily for them, the two go perfectly hand in hand. 

Horror maven Barbara Crampton absolutely shines with one of the best performances of her long career. Heading this cast with a controlled sense of power and manipulation, Crampton is one hundred percent engaged in playing this character. Sarah Hagan (Freaks and Geeks) is the main focal point of Sun Choke. Playing the mentally broken character of Janie, Hagan's dedication to creating a bafflingly realistic portrayal of utter madness is a palpable realization of an actress coming into her own. She brings a creepy, child like innocence to the movie while never losing focus on the fact that she's one hundred percent deranged. Although she's great in the part, it would have been nice to see even more of her character's background and what she might do with more lines and more to do. Adding to the pile of female excellence is the stunning Sara Malakul Lane as the victimized Savannah. 

Damn it. More blood. Gotta take another bath!!! Anyone wanna join? I'm not crazy. Really. I'm not. Soap! Give me soap!

If anything is certain, Sun Choke has some amazing looking visuals, a unique story that we've never seen before, and three actresses trying their damndest to create art. Much like 2014's Starry Eyes, Sun Choke places a female character at the center of the story and lets her shine throughout. If you're a fan of horror and want to see a refreshing spin, check this one out. 

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