Till Death ★★½

Till death do us part. For Emma (Megan Fox), that won’t be long. She is to celebrate her eleven year anniversary with her husband Mark (Eoin Macken). Till Death begins the night prior, with Emma sleeping with one of Mark’s employees. And it isn’t difficult to see why. Emma appears at Mark’s law firm with flowers, and he tells her that she should change into her red dress before dinner. The two are years past caring for each other. Mark is also aware of the affair.

MV5BOTMxYTlkZjUtNTA2OS00YTVhLWI2ZmYtYzIzNzZhZjQwZDc4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI4MTk2NzMz._V1_That night at dinner, the two exchange gifts. Neither is particularly appreciative of their gifts, but Mark wants to take Emma somewhere in celebration of their anniversary as a surprise. He blindfolds Emma and proceeds to drive over an hour to a lake house where the two shared memories in the past. But it’s also the dead of winter, and snow covers the lake and surrounding forest. Emma is understandably frustrated, but finds that Mark has romantically decorated the lake house and follows the rose petals leading to the bedroom. Mark vows to give their marriage a second chance and shoots himself in the head the following morning, after handcuffing Emma to himself.

While trying to find a way to leave the house, Emma finds her wedding gown and behind the gown a safe. It becomes clear after discovering Mark had destroyed Emma’s phone, siphoned the gas out of their car, and threw out her shoes that Mark didn’t intend for Emma to leave the house alive. Two men arrive and Emma is forced into a game of cat-and-mouse while she tries to escape while tied to Mark’s dead body. One of the men is a stalker from Emma’s past, and Mark’s revenge for Emma’s affair becomes even more twisted.

Till Death builds upon Megan Fox’s recent work in indie films, particularly last year’s Rogue, a film in which Fox’s character must also fight for survival. Fox is certainly formidable in these roles, and might be at the point in her career that Kristen Stewart is in – more selective of roles and, for the most part, working away from the types of big budget films both actresses appeared in earlier in their careers.

Apart from the story, there’s visual symbolism that first time director S.K. Dale captures in Till Death. Dale films Mark’s bloodied body being dragged over a wedding gown as well as a number of other small gestures. At 88 minutes, not a minute of Till Death is wasted; however, one gets the sense that with a longer runtime the narrative could be heightened by sharing more about their marriage and adding more dimension to Mark’s character. Still though, Till Death is a satisfying cat-and-mouse thriller and hints at something greater for S.K. Dale to come.

Originally a music critic, Alex began his work with film criticism after watching the films of Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman for the first time. From these films, Alex realized that there was much more artistry and depth to filmmaking than he had previously thought. His favorite contemporary directors include Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, and Terrence Malick.

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