Till Death 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: S.K. Dale
Writer: Jason Carvey
Stars: Megan Fox, Lili Rich, Callan Mulvey
Home invasion horror movies are so prevalent that it often takes a twist or new angle to stand out from the pack. Till Death doesn’t just add isolating and harsh winter conditions to its battle between a protagonist and dangerous invaders; it tethers her to a corpse. While the explanation behind it dips into melodrama, Till Death quickly loses those shackles in favor of a suspenseful, propulsive thriller.
Till Death opens to relationship woes between Emma (Megan Fox) and her lover, Tom (Aml Ameen). The only problem between these love birds is a doozy. Emma is stuck in a stale marriage to a cop, Mark (Eoin Macken), who also happens to be Tom’s superior. It makes hiding their affair all the trickier. Then Mark attempts to revive the romance with his wife by whisking her away to their remote lake house for their tenth anniversary, during the middle of winter. His elaborate plans for love prove much more insidious when Emma wakes up and finds herself handcuffed to her dead husband with no way out. That’s before two ruthless intruders arrive.
Written by Jason Carvey and directed by S.K. Dale, Till Death gets off to a strange start. The first act establishes all the necessary components, namely the key players and motives, but it feels like a different movie altogether. There’s a sleazy quality to Mark, for a good reason. Still, between Emma’s affair, the furtive glances between Emma and Tom whenever Mark is around, and Mark’s controlling nature, the first act bears more in common with a soap opera.
Luckily, once that’s out of the way, and Emma wakes up on an icy morning without power or a means of freeing herself, Till Death catapults itself into a far more exciting thriller that never takes its foot off the gas again. Fox presents Emma as a capable heroine, no stranger to surviving brutal situations. Her past comes into play in an exciting way that adds tension and stakes. But even watching her drag a corpse around to find a way out of her predicament is engaging. Carvey and Dale find inventive obstacles for Emma to overcome, including removing more obvious ways to escape. Throw in a couple of masked invaders, and the suspense coils tight as Emma must sneak around them to avoid detection while braving the elements.
The narrative works best when it’s solely focused on survival. The cat and mouse game brings propulsive energy, as does Fox’s physical performance as she maneuvers all over the lake house property. Callan Mulvey and Jack Roth present the archetypical masked villainous roles, and not even an underbaked connection to Emma’s arc can help them feel fully realized; though Roth does his best with what he’s given to present his morally conflicted character with complexity. It’s a perfect summary for the entire effort; superfluous plot details only distract from what works about this home invasion thriller- the thrills.
While Till Death’s setup leans into silly drama, it leaves that mainly in the rearview mirror once Emma and Mark arrive at the lake house. Things go from bloody to worse as Dale stages several thrilling scenarios for Emma to navigate. The thrills more than compensate for a melodramatic setup, and Fox makes for a capable action lead. It may not wholly separate itself from a crowded subgenre, but Till Death does offer an exhilarating and entertaining ride while it lasts.