An unhappy wife is given a brutal and diabolically twisted anniversary present. Till Death is a cat and mouse thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Megan Fox, in her career best film, is chained to a dead body. Drumroll please, while trying to outwit a pair of attackers in a frigid, desolate setting. It’s an unimaginable situation that tests every ounce of her resolve. Stellar camerawork, masterful editing, and a terse script successfully establishes tension through a lean runtime.
The film takes place initially in wintry Manhattan. The beautiful but traumatized Emma (Megan Fox) tells her lover, Tom (Aml Ameen), that they can no longer see each other. She meets her arrogant, abusive, and controlling husband, Mark (Eoin Macken), at his law office the following day. It is their eleventh anniversary. He has dinner planned, an unexpected gift, and promises several more surprises are forthcoming for his spouse.
Mark blindfolds a nervous Emma. Then drives her to a remote house on a frozen lake. A picturesque romantic setting, candles everywhere, rose petals on the floor, and pictures of their life together has been staged. A puzzled Emma thanks Mark for his efforts. The next morning, she awakens to find her left hand shackled. Mark leaves a macabre parting gift. A horrified Emma is now chained to her husband. Who has adeptly removed every possible sharp object, method of communication, and means of escape. Even worse, he has unleashed the murderous source of Emma’s greatest fear. The betrayed wife must use cunning and fortitude to escape an elaborate death trap.
Till Death sucks you into the predicament. Just like Emma, you assume there has to be a tool somewhere capable of severing a limb. She’s forced to drag the corpse through every room to no avail. The heat was disabled, doors left open, and her clothes, including shoes, are also gone. Freezing and covered in blood, Emma has no time to work on the problem. The second phase of a wicked plan kicks in soon after she’s chained. It’s a mind-boggling dilemma that has no easy choices.
Director S.K. Dale is brilliant in his feature film debut. He nails the Hitchcockian aspects of the narrative. Emma, a woman with a model’s frame, has to lug around a much bigger man while evading detection. She uses the snow, corners, and distraction tactics to stealthily move around. Ninety percent of Till Death takes place at the lake house. Dale’s blocking of tightly confined sets, clever editing, and stark lighting paints quite a suspenseful picture. Till Death reminded me of the David Fincher classic, Panic Room.
Megan Fox steps out of her comfort zone and it pays dividends. I honestly never thought much of her as an actress. Her character spends the entire film under increasing levels of distress. She’s unexpectedly good in an emotional and physically tough performance. Till Death is an indie gem that deserves to be seen. It’s a well-made, satisfying thriller on all fronts. Till Death is a production of Millennium Media, Brave Carrot, and Campbell Grobman Films. It is currently in theatrical release and available on demand from Screen Media Films.
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