Lifetime Movie The Choking Game Is A Helpful Reminder That Teenagers Are Exhausting

Lifetime movie The Choking Game 2014

I talk a lot about how much I enjoy teen-related Lifetime movies. And I do. I can even put up with the Whiny Girl character type if the movie itself is entertaining. But sometimes things go a little too far, and the whining and angst and general awfulness get to be a little too much, and by the end I’m so tired of teenagers if I so much as glimpse anyone under the age of 20 I’ll pass out from exhaustion. That’s how I felt during last night’s new movie The Choking Game, which was all about the latest way teenagers have found to be stupid. Don’t underestimate them; they always find a way.

The choking game of the title is exactly what it sounds like. Teenagers choke themselves or each other to the point of passing out. Because woohoo, so fun. At first I thought, only Lifetime could make a two-hour movie about teenagers choking themselves. But it turns out, according to the end-of-the-movie statistics, 1 in 16 teenagers has played this, and 1,000 die each year from it, while most parents don’t even know what it is. I’m only in my 20s and I still can’t keep up with all these teenagers’ self-destructive trends. Next thing I’ll be hearing about how teens are eating expired yogurt to feel dangerous. They’re not, are they? At this point I really wouldn’t be surprised.

This week’s main teen is Taryn (Freya Tingley), who’s starting her senior year of high school (at age 17, of course) on the right track. She gets good grades, doesn’t get into trouble, and doesn’t asphyxiate herself to the point of passing out. But of course that all has to change, because no good girl stays good forever. At least according to Lifetime.

Taryn has two main weaknesses. One, she has a crush on a guy named Ryder (Mitch Ainley) and is willing to get up early and run around a track every day just to catch a glimpse of him. Sorry, but I’ve never been into anyone that much. Her second weakness is that she feels the need to impress popular girl Courtney (Ferron Guerreiro), who calls all the little people “GP,” or “General Population,” and who was created by melting down the DVDs of twenty classic teen movies and extracting the essence of all their queen bee characters. Those kinds of over-the-top, princessy types are fun in a comedy, but when you’re trying to make a serious movie about serious issues, going all 13 Going On 30 on us is super inappropriate. Because let’s get real, nobody acts like that. Unless I know even less about teenagers than I thought I did.

Taryn wins the favor of new girl Nina (Alex Steele), who’s rumored to be into “some hardcore stuff.” That’s verified when Taryn finds her passed out in the bathroom after choking herself. She and Taryn of course start hanging out, with Taryn abandoning her nice, cool-blue-streaks-in-her-hair friend Elena (actress name is a mystery to me). Nina explains that choking is all about control, and once you have control over your body you can have control over other parts of your life. She approaches the whole thing like some kind of motivational speaker. I expected Oprah to invite her to star in a reality show on OWN.

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • Trevor

      Great review, Jill! I liked this movie! I didn’t even know about The Choking Game until this movie. Thank you, Lifetime, for once again teaching me about stuff I didn’t really need to know existed! The first time they did it was when they taught me about polygamy with “Escape From Polygamy”

      • Jill O’Rourke

        Thanks! And Escape From Polygamy will always hold a special place in my heart.

    • steelant

      it was good but rider acting like he scared of pussy

      • Cbalducc

        Someone please delete this!

      • JJ


    • M_G

      I spent this entire movie fluctuating between wondering “Wait….is this something the kids are actually doing these days?” and thinking how much that home room teacher sucks. It REALLY botherd me for some reason. “Becky? Check. Jason? Check. OH HI TARYN WANNA EAT LUNCH WITH ME AND YOUR MOM TODAY AND HELP US PLAN EVENTS AND STUFF?!?!”

    • Cbalducc

      Now I know what Roz Doyle has been doing since Frasier left the building. She’s been raising an “At 17″ daughter! She needs to call Dr. Crane. Wonder if he’s still listening?

    • Kate

      I remember this being a big thing when I was in high school, like to the point of having an assembly and a lot of references to it in health class. So either Lifetime is almost a decade late or teenagers are still complete idiots (my money is on both)

      • Jill O’Rourke

        Yeah, always safe to bet both.

      • PaintedRed

        I was 12 or younger when I first learned about kids doing this so Lifetime’s at least 15+ years late on the topic.

    • PaintedRed

      so it looks like the “expired yogurt game” might not happen since teenagers have become preoccupied with the “lets set ourselves on fire” game. When’s that movie gonna come out (lets see how angsty that movie will be)? Oddly enough, although the attention put on this topic seems rather new, I’m 5 months away from turning 30 years old and I remember kids were playing “the choking game” when I was 12 so they could get out of class or school, so this isn’t really new at all.

    • rockmonster

      Not only is this thing not current (the kids’ve moved on to inhaling chilies and self-immolation) but it’s Lifetime, the network known for sensationalizing the living daylight out of things for its movies.

      • PaintedRed

        kids have moved on to setting themselves on fire… keep up lifetime.

    • Tara Ann

      I’m 40 and never heard of it. We found other ways to keep us busy. I ask my daughter about it and she said yes I’ve heard of it. And the pass out game. When you count to 20 and someone presses down on your chest till you pass out. Her friend send her a message last night where her friend at 15 years old tried it and hit her head got stitches In get mouth. And tonight ask if my daughter can spend the night haha no. So I think kids need to find something else to do. Besides shot each other and chock and pass out. You can be cold brain dead or die.

      • Yosafbridg Tudor

        I’m 48 and my friends were doing it in high school–i think everything just cycles around again. Maybe the way to get kids not to do it is to say “Oh yeah, I remember when the cool kids were doing that, way back when…”