You’ll Find Yourself Enjoying This Gripping and Silly Film Till Death (2021)
Title: Till Death
First Non-Festival Release: July 1, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: S.K. Dale
Writer: Jason Carvey
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Starring: Megan Fox, Eoin Macken, Callan Mulvey
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Emma (Megan Fox) is celebrating her anniversary with her husband Mark (Eoin Macken) at their lake house. They have been going through a rough patch recently and Emma has been secretly dating one of his co-workers, Tom (Aml Ameen), though she recently ended things. After a night of rekindling their romance, Emma wakes up handcuffed to Mark who, after exchanging a few words, shoots himself in the head, dying instantly. Tethered to his body, Emma realizes that all means of communication and all tools have been taken from the home and that someone from her past has come to finish Mark’s plot of revenge.
Till Death is a gripping revenge horror film that is tense, frightening, and deeply metaphorical.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how this movie could be told over an hour and a half, but the filmmakers surprised me by structuring it in such a fun way. I appreciate that the film doesn’t overstay its welcome on its concept. There’s enough mixing it up to where the handcuff to a dead body trope doesn’t get too old. Director S.K. Dale does a great job of finding misdirection in scenes to increase the stakes while also giving Emma a plausible way to overcome obstacles. The result is an even-paced thriller with plenty of tension and scares to shock its audience.
The film’s metaphor is pretty on-the-nose. Till Death posits that the best thing you can do for yourself is cut ties with the person who is holding you back. This dead weight in your life and the dead relationships you cling to are impediments to growth. Emma and Mark embody this well. Dissatisfaction in their partners help dissolve the marriage to the point where all the love disappeared. What’s left is the husk of an empty house that used to hold such fond memories of love. It even hits harder considering both parties cheated so neither is “to blame” in the beginning. Then, Emma wanted to be better, and she ended things with her lover on her own terms so she could. The same cannot be said for Mark. Even before we knew Mark’s intentions, he was petty, uncaring, and controlling of Emma.
Lacking the screen time of Fox, the rest of the cast has very little to work with regarding their characters. Everyone plays a very specific role and feels very much like a stock character without much depth. The character of Bobby (Callan Mulvey) specifically feels a bit cartoonish at times. Surely, he’d be mad at Emma for causing him to go to jail but there were plenty of moments that just seemed over the top considering the stakes.
Some of the fun gets spoiled by some oversights. While most of the film is plausible, in the most liberal way possible, there are still several logic gaps that do make it just a bit too hard to swallow. This is particularly apparent with the arrival of Tom. Furthermore, his insights don’t make much sense considering the other evidence Emma finds to exonerate her. Speaking of Emma, Fox does not give the best performance here. She’s shaky and emotes in a way that doesn’t quite fit the situation she is in. Thankfully, she still carries the film fine and Macken and Mulvey’s slimy performances give Fox all the anchorage she needs to be the easiest person to sympathize with at any moment.
By no means is Till Death a perfect film, but it is a fun little horror thriller that maximizes the potential of its concept. Two great villains make up for some otherwise stilted performances and Fox’s charm gives the film enough goodwill to see it through to the end. Clever set design helps heighten the tension enough to make the leaps of faith more forgivable. Tension is palpable throughout Till Death and when minimal pressure is applied to its simple concept it reads as an enjoyable and often exciting film. Marriage problems can be killer, and this is one film that you will not want part ways with once finishing.
Overall Score? 7/10