Gerald’s Game meets Panic Room in Till Death, which sounds like a cash register breaking down but is actually a thriller about a woman (Megan Fox) waking up handcuffed to her husband (Eoin Macken) who promptly shoots himself.
Till Death is a film of two halves, neither of them good. The first finds Fox dragging her husband’s corpse around the house with a look of mild exasperation that really conveys the inconvenience of waking up handcuffed to your dead spouse. “I have been chained to this nightmare all day,” she moans, as though complaining about having to wait in for an Amazon delivery. The marriage-as-hostage-situation metaphor is both over-explained and underdeveloped, with neither a hint of the humour required of such a ridiculous thriller nor any idea how much effort it would take to drag a dead body by the wrist. Fox doesn’t break a nail, let alone a sweat.
The second half is a home-invasion movie, equally dumb but drastically improved when Fox gets at least vaguely cunning. By having its protagonist fight back, the film avoids The Strangers-style sadism in favour of a Panic Room parable in which a woman fights for her independence from the patriarchy. This feminist angle might feel more authentic if her perfect hair, makeup and manicure changed even slightly from the moment she wakes up to the culmination of beatings, car crashes and almost drowning she endures in the name of female empowerment.
A more convincing reading is that the movie is an allegory for Fox’s career, and the corpse is Michael Bay. One bad decision in her youth and now she is shackled to this man forever, always pulling her back no matter how hard she tries to break out on her own. Till Death marks another botched attempt at freedom. It squanders its mystery setup by constantly explaining itself, a gaping wound where its sense of humour should be. The blood-on-snow imagery invokes Fargo but it doesn’t go far enough, and the results are as leaden and lifeless as a corpse. You will probably want a refund. Unfortunately there’s a nasty bout of till death going around.