Trapped in a loveless marriage, and still dealing with the lingering trauma of a brutal attempted robbery from ten years prior, Emma (Megan Fox) is whisked away by her sociopathic, controlling husband to a lakeside cabin where they attempt to rekindle their relationship. Things take a sinister turn however when Emma not only finds herself handcuffed to her husband’s corpse, but also trapped in what can only be described as an escape room of emotional abuse, as she is forced to get the better of a pair of vicious killers.
An interesting premise, but unfortunately S.K. Dale’s feature length debut Till Death fails to deliver on its potential. In part, this is down to the simple fact that it lacks any real tension, which is a death sentence for any would-be thriller. That’s not for lack of trying. There are moments when the film almost gets there, but it’s let down by the significant disconnect between Dale’s directorial abilities and the vision that scriptwriter Jason Carvey clearly had.
Much of the film is an elaborate game of cat and mouse between Emma and those hunting her as she creeps around the lake house struggling to find a means of escape. In the right hands this could make for something greatly suspenseful. But there is something about Fox quickly darting out of shot just as someone is about to turn around and spot her that is inherently pantomime. It kills any tension and leads the film to become more comical than clever, much to its detriment. Likewise, such moments are used far too repetitively throughout the second act, making them feel too much like padding and as though the film is stalling for time.
Carvey clearly had a strong concept on paper, and perhaps that’s exactly where it should have stayed. As a literary text the writer could prolong these moments and focus on Emma’s terror and anxiety to build anxiety, but as a film it is sadly lost. This isn’t aided by Fox delivering an utterly emotionless performance the entire time. It’s hard to tell whether she is simply checked out from the film, or whether she simply lacks the skill to deliver what is required. There are galvanized moments where something does awaken within her, but these occur during moments of anger and frustration as she screams at her husband’s corpse over his hypocrisy or throws out sarcastic asides. The result is that Emma seems less distraught or afraid, but rather inconvenienced by the whole affair.
It’s a shame because Fox’s co-stars are clearly trying. Eoin Macken is thoroughly detestable as Emma’s husband from the moment he appears on-screen, while Jack Roth does a good job of capturing his character’s inner conflict. Ultimately though, what little Till Death had going for it is squandered, resulting in a film that feels as much dead-weight as the frigid corpse Fox is forced to drag around with her.
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