TILL DEATH (2021)
Starring Megan Fox, Eoin Macken, Callan Mulvey, Jack Roth, Aml Ameen, Stefanie Rozhko, Julian Balahurov, Lili Rich and Teodora Djuric.
Screenplay by Jason Carvey.
Directed by S.K. Dale.
Distributed by Screen Media. 88 minutes. Rated R.
“Till death do us part…” has always felt like an extraordinarily morbid thing to have to say at the end of what is supposed to be a vow of true love and commitment.
Particularly in modern times, when, let’s face it, the great majority of marriages don’t come close to lasting until death. However this thriller is apparently about a couple in which at least one of the members didn’t know about – or more to the point don’t believe in – divorce or annulment.
This couple is Emma (Megan Fox) and Mark (Eoin Macken). She is a former photographer. He is a controlling lawyer who once handled a case which jailed a man who had tried to kill Emma. Somehow, they got together after that, but by the time we meet them it is quite obvious that there are significant cracks in their relationship. Both act coldly… almost numbly… towards each other. Simple statements he makes (like “I thought you were going to wear the red dress”) seem like threats.
And we learned, before we even met Mark, that Emma was having an affair with one of Mark’s employees (Aml Ameen). This affair also doesn’t exactly seem passionate, although they seem to care for each other. However, Emma appears so wounded that she can’t connect with anyone and ends the relationship in the opening scenes.
It is Emma and Mark’s anniversary, and he takes her out to a fancy dinner and then takes her to a secluded lake house they used to go to in better times. He set up the lake house with rose petals strewn on the floor and hundreds of burning candles leading the way to the bedroom (which seems odd – even to an audience that has only known him for a short while – because he seems like about the least romantic man you could find).
After a night of making love, Emma wakes up to find herself handcuffed to Mark, who is sitting on the side of the bed. Then he takes a pistol and shoots himself in the head.
Wow, that’s one hell of a morning after.
Therefore, she is stuck in a remote cabin, with no phone or sharp items, keys or cars, chained to a dead body. That’s quite a bit of symbolism in this marriage.
Much of Till Death – particularly in the first half – is rather reminiscent of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, which was made into a slightly better film a few years ago for Netflix. In that film, though, the husband didn’t purposely kill himself. Instead, he died during a BDSM game gone awry, and the wife was cuffed to the bed, not to her late husband’s corpse.
In this film, eventually her lover shows up, as do two criminals planning on breaking into the safe for a stash of diamonds. It turns out – small world – that one of those men was the guy who tried to kill her years before, who had recently gotten out on parole. And before you think that was a huge coincidence, apparently it was all part of late hubby’s devious plan.
Honestly, once the other people intrude on the story, Till Death becomes a more standard chiller – fairly good but nothing we haven’t seen before. Even with the additional characters, it’s certainly a claustrophobic tale. There are only five characters on the screen throughout the majority of the film (and only a total of nine even if you include bit parts).
Till Death is not totally successful at telling its sordid and scary little tale, but it does better at it than you may expect.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 10, 2021.