For the past few years the film industry has returned back to stories that involve a lesser known horror. Mental illness in most genre related films deals with some axe wielding madman but those who have seen it up close know the terror goes so much deeper. Sometimes it could be our next door neighbor or a guy from our high school that has snapped and committed some unspeakable act that cannot be explained. In Ben Cresciman feature SUN CHOKE we see an enigmatic performance from Sarah Hagan who plays Janie a disturbed little soul. She’s receiving a torturous style of recovery treatment from genre legend Barbara Crampton. What should be helping Janie leads her down a downward spiral as she tries to reclaim her life and exist as one.
While dealing with the disturbing treatment Hagan comes across the sexy and alluring Savannah played by Sara Malakul Lane. Janie thinks she has a connection with this woman and brings a perverted and invasion pursuit to be a part of her life. SUN CHOKE really dives deep into the psyche of it’s main character which brings about a helpless dread to the film. Similar to the indie hit FELT the look and feel of this art house thriller taps into an unknown region dealing with mental stability. There are moments of sheer intensity from start to finish in SUN CHOKE which makes this one of the best thrillers of the year. The slow burning nature of the feature will be difficult for those with a short attention span. What can be quantified as the second chapter of the film picks up as Janie starts to interfere more into the life Savannah. From there it’s a treacherous pace that leads to a devastating conclusion. The nineties with films like BASIC INSTINCT and the one being referenced in the title of this review often shared a hint to the evil presented behind closed doors of normally unsuspecting people. SUN CHOKE can be looked at in the same regard yet blows the door wide on how horrifying dealing with someone with a mental disorder can be.
SUN CHOKE is truly a captivating feature. The impressive cast led by Hagan really makes the film worthwhile as the viewer digests how things are being played out. Films like MAY, EXCISION and others constantly show disturbed protagonists etching their way into your memory banks with their erratic behavior and unrelentless violence. Janie will soon become one of those to you when you see SUN CHOKE.
SUN CHOKE hits on demand on August 2nd followed up by a limited theater release on August 5th. The film is directed by Ben Cresciman and stars Sarah Hagan, Sara Malakul Lane and Barbara Crampton. It is being released courtesy XLrator Media.