Till Death (2021) ☆☆☆(3/4): A modest chilly thriller film starring Megan Fox

“Till Death” is one of those fun thriller flicks you should watch without any knowledge on what it is about or how it is about. I enjoyed it enough despite seeing and then guessing a bit too much from its trailer and promotional poster in advance, but, though I will be very, very, very discreet in the following paragraphs, I sincerely urge you to stop reading this review right now if you really want to be entertained by this modest but effective thriller film as much as possible.

During the opening part unfolded in New York City on one cold winter day, the movie introduces its heroine and then observes her little private time with some guy with whom she has had an affair for a while. It is apparent that she has been quite unhappy in her married life, and her lover is willing to step forward more for comforting her more, but she eventually comes to change her mind and then leaves the scene.

The following scene shows more of how much she has been frustrated and suffocated due to her husband, who is incidentally a rich senior partner of some prestigious law firm in the city. Before she met him, she was just a struggling photographer without much prospect, and his every act seems to be accompanied with a cruel intention of reminding her again and again of how pathetic she would have been if it had not been for him.

Anyway, the day happens to be their wedding anniversary, so she and her husband have a fairly nice dinner together at some posh restaurant, but she is still uncomfortable as before, even when he seems to be a little more generous than before with a special necklace for her. When she happens to witness a young woman accepting the proposal from her older boyfriend at one point, she cannot help but watch her younger self from that young woman, and she becomes more anxious and awkward when her husband subsequently takes her to somewhere with her blindfolded for, well, another surprise.

 And she is surely surprised when she and her husband are almost near to their destination, which turns out to be their little lake house located at some remote rural spot outside the city. Everything seems to be prepared well inside the house for what is supposed to be a romantic night between them, and she consequently becomes a relaxed a bit while impressed by how well her husband prepared for this. In case of one small room, it is filled with the photographs from the past, and it looks like her husband is really serious about rekindling their romance, especially when he and his wife eventually come to spend the night together in the bedroom.

 Of course, the husband turns out to have a hidden motive to be sprung out in the very next morning, and our heroine suddenly finds herself stuck in a very desperate circumstance thanks to her husband. It is gradually revealed that he made sure in advance that she will be trapped in the house without any chance to get help from the outside, and she is horrified more as discovering more of how nasty and twisted her husband’s plan is in many aspects.  

This is clearly another typical “woman in danger” movie, but the screenplay by Jason Carvey, which often seems to be written right after he watched Mike Flanagan’s “Gerald’s Game” (2017), methodically corners its heroine step by step as she desperately attempts to find any possible way out, and director S.K. Dale, who made several short films before making feature film debut here, steadily increases the level of tension behind the screen. As our heroine’s chance of survival is decreased again and again, the mood gets a lot gloomier as a result, and then the situation becomes all the more urgent when our heroine must really think and act faster than before.

Although it becomes rather predictable during the last act, the movie still maintains enough tension as providing several well-executed moments including the one unfolded inside the attic of the house. Although the movie was mostly shot in Bulgaria as a matter of fact, its isolated main background looks convincing on the whole, and Dale and his cinematographer Jamie Cairney did a fairly good job of filling the screen with the chilly wintry ambience, which surely accentuates our heroine’s increasingly perilous situation.

Above all, the movie is supported well by its star performer’s strong performance. Although she has been mostly remembered for her disposable supporting performance in “The Transformers” (2007) and its atrocious 2009 sequel, Megan Fox is actually capable of giving good performance as shown from “Jennifer’s Body” (2009), and I appreciate how her real-life persona often resonates with her character’s emotional drama along the story. Considering how much she has been often disregarded and underrated by many of us just because she seems to be merely sexy without much talent on the surface, Fox seems to understand her character really well, and she willingly goes all the way along with her character as giving her best performance since “Jennifer’s Body”.

Overall, “Till Death” aims low from the very beginning, but it accomplishes its mission better than I thought, and I admire how Fox’s committed acting carries it well from the start to the beginning. I do not know whether her good efforts here in this film will lead to more good things in the future, but I think she really deserves more chances like this.

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