If you’re in need of a good scare, “Till Death” is a movie more menacing than at first glance. Written and Directed by Jason Carvey and S.K. Dale respectively, “Till Death” stars Megan Fox as a wife desperate to escape the sadistic game her husband set up for their anniversary.
Megan Fox plays Emma, stuck in an unfulfilling and repressive marriage with Mark, a lawyer who came to Emma’s aid in putting away an unknown assailant who attacked her. The depictions of their marriage are all too familiar of an abusive relationship. Mark treats Emma as a trophy wife. He dictates what she wears, makes all prior decisions (even when it comes to getting dessert at a restaurant), and does not accept gifts from her, championing himself as the sole provider.
The image we get of their marriage is a little cliche, however, it makes Megan Fox as the lead all the more telling. Let us not forget the ye olde age of the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Megan Fox can’t breathe for 20 seconds without someone sexualizing her. Half of her career has been her playing the role of “object.” She’s had to compensate for that by being one of the toughest women I have ever seen in acting.
When it comes to this role, I have a love-hate relationship with it. The biggest problem is Emma has no personality outside of hating her marriage. I get that they’re trying to make a statement, but the audience won’t absorb it if we don’t care about the main character. Although this problem is consistent throughout the movie, there are moments that shine above the rest of her drudging. In one scene, Megan acts as an aid toward a woman who was proposed to surprisingly in public. Emma is chastised for her curiosity, but her sympathy works well in portraying a very common problem in our society of people proposing in public to unsuspecting partners, creating an atmosphere where they have to say yes or be shamed.
The main focus of the movie is the game that Mark has set up for Emma. Emma has been cheating on Mark with Tom, one of his business partners. It is important to mention that Tom is black and technically gets the “black person who dies first” and “black person as a device for the story” treatment, so the movie loses points for that. Mark has been watching them in secret for a while, and with his law firm going down for multiple accounts of fraud, he finds this to be the perfect time to do another round of “crazy rich white man torture games.”
What is supposed to be a nice anniversary night at their ski villa, turns into Emma waking up handcuffed to her husband who proceeds to shoot himself before she can even say “Good Morning.” The night before he removed all weapons within the home, cut the phone lines, moved all the clothes, siphoned the gas out the car, you know, the average Tuesday for a white man. As an extra special gift, Mark hires Emma’s previous assailant, along with the assailant’s brother, to terrorize her as well.
Emma’s attacker, Bobby, and his brother Jimmy are the perfect foil of an abusive relationship with Mark and Emma. Jimmy, our soft boy king, simply wants to help his brother and do their job without causing any problems. Bobby, on the other hand, chose violence that morning. Jimmy is against the idea of killing and murdering, but Bobby does his own brand of manipulation to continue to use Jimmy in the pursuit of his ultimate goal: the diamonds that Mark promised them if they were to attack Emma.
The first half of the movie is quite tedious. It is Emma dragging Mark’s lifeless corpse around as she checks every nook and cranny trying to find an escape, all while being taunted by Mark’s hidden messages along the way. Her lines consist of f-bombs and grunts that play into the “Emma is not a real person” problem. Emma does not seem even slightly scared of the situation that she is in. Even when she’s outside in the middle of the snow, her breath leaves no trace. Listen, I know her marriage made her a lifeless husk of a woman, but c’mon.
The movie’s competitive advantage has to be its cinematography and action scenes. There is this haunting moment within the film where Bobby is handcuffed to Mark, traumatized after accidentally killing his brother, sinking after the ice on the lake breaks while holding on to Emma. Mark’s corpse drags both of them down the water slowly.
Even though Emma had no personality, she makes up for that by being incredibly crafty and formidable. Megan Fox is just at her peak whenever she is fighting in a movie. When she hit jimmy with that 9 iron, I was taken aback. Because of how intelligent and skilled Emma is whenever she is in danger, it makes the sudden moments of her getting caught all the more terrifying. There were many times when I thought she was in the clear and was forced immediately back into danger to the point where it made me scream.
All in all, “Till Death” was much better than I expected. The beginning is pretty slow to the point where I could not help but peak away at my phone. The action has a great way of pulling you back in and the cinematography fills in gaps in the storytelling. Besides Emma, most of the cast was very well-rounded. Seeing Megan Fox flex her autonomy with her actions rather than her words was a mostly successful decision. The dark comedy aspects fell a little flat, but it is tolerable. The moral of the story is don’t let those Instagram wedding pics fool you, marriage is harder than it looks.