It’s nice to see Fox back in the horror saddle, but Till Death‘s stronger elements too often fall victim to its thriller conventionality.
Is it finally happening? Is Megan Fox finally getting the horror career she deserves? After a revelatory performance in Karyn Kusama’s cult sleeper hit Jennifer’s Body, a clear new path was opened up for Fox’s career, moving away from blockbusters where she was uniformly cast as eye candy. Here was a genre that allowed her to exploit her sexuality, her remarkable comedic range, and otherwise genuine talents as an actress with distinct presence, and yet it’s taken over a decade for Fox to star in another horror film. So is Till Death the movie that will finally make such — my — dreams come true and recast Fox as a scream queen and genre icon? Well, yes and no.
Boasting a plot that sounds like somebody vaguely misremembered Gerald’s Game (2017), Till Death is situated in an odd middle-ground between full home-invasion/survival horror and trashy erotic action-thriller, never really surrendering to either subgenre. The morning after their wedding anniversary, Megan Fox’s Emma wakes up in the couple’s secluded lake house, handcuffed to her husband Mark (Eoin Macken), who, after being appropriately cryptic about the whole affair, promptly shoots himself in the face. With armed intruders from Emma’s past on her tail, she quickly exhausts the most obvious routes of escape, and has to get creative to survive.
To describe Till Death as horror is maybe a bit generous — while it adopts the trappings of a home-invasion flick, and Emma’s fight for survival offers an interesting wrinkle to the final girl playbook, the film seems far more at ease when leaning into its action and thriller sensibilities. The former particularly is a genre that Fox is far more studied in, and so it’s unsurprising that the film leans on her considerable talent, but it’s when Till Death embraces the horror at the heart of its premise that it really shines. The terrifying, brutal mundanity of Emma dragging Mark’s still-bleeding corpse up and down stairs, the pair’s dynamic, particularly when Emma realizes that her husband has found common cause with a man who attacked her years ago, and an utterly thrilling final act are all elements that mark the movie as a intermittently memorable. Unfortunately, these more distinctive aspects are somewhat neutered by the film’s refusal to stray too far from its thriller conventionality — perhaps in an intentional effort to avoid comparisons to the similarly-plotted Gerald’s Game? — and along with a script that feels slightly on-the-nose, it all ends up combining into the sort of soft horror film you’d be comfortable watching with your parents. There’s the clear impression that with a real commitment to guts and gore, Till Death could have made for a great horror film, as opposed to what it is — a diverting genre treat and fun Fox reunion, but an otherwise forgettable thriller.