Imagine being whisked away to a romantic lake house getaway in the dead of winter and wake up the next morning handcuffed to your dead spouse’s body trapped in an icy prison that once seemed like a winter wonderland? That’s the situation Emma (Megan Fox) finds herself shackled with, literally, in the new thriller film Till Death.
Emma is trapped in more ways than one in this movie. For starters, she’s in a dead-end marriage to Christian Grey wannabe Mark (Eoin Macken), a successful businessman who takes some tips from Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne and is more interested in arm candy than a living, breathing human wife.
Emma is far from perfect, but she doesn’t deserve her emotionally distant, arrogant, manipulative husband. What begins as an intro into a failing marriage soon evolves into something far more terrifying as a lakeside foray turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse. I hate using that term because it’s such a cliché, but it really is the best way to describe this flick.
Soon after Emma wakes up handcuffed to her husband, she’s forced to find her way out of the house. But it soon becomes clear that her husband had bigger plans in mind that make it much trickier for Emma to survive.
As she drags her husband’s corpse through the house, looking for all the viable means of escape–phone, car, knife to cut herself free–she finds her options severely limited. Then things get worse when hired killers show up at the door, intent on getting what they agreed upon.
When it comes to thrillers of this nature, where you have one character stuck inside a set location as they try to escape a villain, it’s imperative that the heroine makes smart decisions, or the story quickly becomes frustrating. That’s where Till Death really succeeds. Just about everything Emma does makes sense and seems like the smart, best move to make, given the situation she’s in.
I think there was only once or twice in the movie where I found myself yelling, “Why!?” or “What are you doing!?” And both times, that query was silenced shortly after when Emma did what I’d hoped she would. I did yell at the television for other reasons, but there is one scene, in particular, involving a car alarm that made me go, “wow, Emma is smart, she’s genre-savvy!”
Till Death wouldn’t work without Megan Fox’s performance anchoring the movie
But Till Death would not work without Megan Fox’s performance anchoring the film. She proves herself a strong, capable action film lead as she crawls, runs, strategizes, and does whatever is necessary to survive the killers on her trail. Even as obstacle after obstacle falls into her path, Emma finds a way to persevere.
A film like this reminds me why I love seeing Fox in an action or horror space so much. From Jennifer’s Body and New Girl, we know comedy is one of the actress’s strengths, but Till Death proves that she really can hold her weight in the thriller.
That said, I will admit Till Death feels more chilly and distant than I would like. Environment aside, don’t expect to get to know these characters on a deep level. We don’t need to because this is a fast-paced thriller focused more on the action than the story, but it feels like a flaw when you walk away feeling a little cold inside.
It’s not just the endless snow, ice, and cool tones that make this movie feel like it needed some thawing, but the performances feel too closed off and one-dimensional. Fox does the best she can with the material, but her strengths in this film lie in the physical movements of her performance more than emotional. There were a few moments where I felt like her signature charisma and sly wit was coming through, but whether she, the director, or the script silenced it, I wished we could have gotten more of that from Emma.
While the traditional thriller beats and tension play well, the emotions from every actor feel rather one-note. The only exception is Jack Roth, who really infuses his character with some heart.
Till Death is now available to rent or purchase from VOD services.