Till Death review – Megan Fox elevates a brisk and efficicient chiller a marriage turns cold

October 4, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
3.5

Summary

Doing her best work since Jennifer’s Body, Megan Fox helps to elevate what is already a surprisingly tense chiller.

3.5

Summary

Doing her best work since Jennifer’s Body, Megan Fox helps to elevate what is already a surprisingly tense chiller.

This review of Till Death is spoiler-free.


The “Megan Fox” movie used to be a fine art, a weird balance of genre tropes – whatever genre the latest one was playing with – and self-awareness. For years, Fox was largely famous for being one of the most inexplicably beautiful women to ever live, and almost every role she had during her heyday knew this and played on it to some extent – sometimes in a way that was kind of gross and that possibly happened against her will, though she’s on record defending Michael Bay, of all people, for getting her to dance around in a bikini when she was a teenager. The Megan Fox movie reached an arguable apotheosis in 2009’s Jennifer’s Body, which hindsight has turned into something of a feminist cult classic that, along with her willingness to call out directors – including Bay, though not for the bikini thing – and the general, rampant misogyny of the industry at large has kept her culturally relevant even while she stepped away from the Hollywood spotlight.

I raise all this because Till Death is a Megan Fox movie in the crowd-pleasing style of the aforementioned Jennifer’s Body; her best work since that film, too, though admittedly that’s only slight praise given that her big lead-role comeback, last year’s Rogue, was a woeful gung-ho actioner co-starring a PS2-quality CGI lion that Fox was ill-suited to. Director Scott Dale has delivered the goods here though in a stripped-back, small-scale thriller with just enough acknowledgment of Fox’s cultural footprint to leverage it in a smart way. Scribe Jason Carvey turns a chilly home-invasion flick into an R-rated re-do of Home Alone spliced with a touch of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and a spiteful point about abusive, controlling men. And nobody, it turns out, is better equipped to play the beautiful rich trophy wife of an awful husband than Megan Fox.

Fox, currently disproving every cliché about how white women age, plays Emma, the long-suffering spouse of Eoin Macken’s Mark, an almost Bruce Wayne-level Awful Rich Dude™ whose high-flying law firm also employs Tom (Aml Ameen), the rising star legal eagle whom Emma is sleeping with on their anniversary. It’s this affair that compels Mark to whisk Emma away to a reclusive holiday home in the middle of winter so that they can supposedly “rekindle” some of the lovely romantic memories they’ve made there over the years. By the next morning, Mark’s dead, Emma is chained to his corpse, a series of obstacles and a trail of clues prove that this has all been planned by him to punish her, and before long a pair of killers are on the loose, stalking Emma around the expansive home and its icy surroundings.

It’s a taut, albeit simple, set up for a thriller. But Till Death is also very efficient, and more than a little clever. Emma isn’t exactly likable, per se; she doesn’t have that much of a character, really, beyond being utterly sick of her husband’s bullshit even before she’s forced to drag it around with her. But she’s easy to root for because she’s smart and resourceful and determined to unshackle herself – figuratively and literally – from the man who has caused her so many years of pain and torment. She makes good decisions in her attempts to escape both her predicament and the efforts of hired killers Bobby Ray (Callan Mulvey) and his reluctant younger brother Jimmy (Jack Roth), meeting the setting and its various crucial plot-relevant accouterments halfway. The cat and mouse game that plays out through the house, an adjoining shed, and the snowy surroundings is a capably tense and briskly paced bit of genre filmmaking that Fox treats as an opportunity to get some things off her chest.

You can stream Till Death on Netflix.

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