Till Death: Megan Fox Stars in the Cathartic Revenge Survival Film We Needed
As a Megan Fox fan, I was going to be delighted by any film that comes out during her coming back era. (Meganaissance?) Still, as a horror fan, there was an extra delight in the intrigue around her new thriller Till Death, and with it getting good reviews, plus a runtime of 1h and 28 minutes, I was sold. What I received was a well-paced, well-acted film that combined the best aspects of Fox’s image as well as a cathartic revenge film.
**Spoilers for Till Death.**
Fox plays Emma, a woman unhappily married to an emotionally abusive and controlling man named Mark. On their eleventh wedding anniversary, he takes them to their lake house outside New York City—in the middle of winter. This isolated experience is treated as romantic, a way for Mark to make up for his douchery. Yet, when Emma wakes up the next morning, she is handcuffed to Mark, and he shoots himself in front of her. Emma is now chained and isolated with no way out, as hired men arrive at the house willing to kill to get what they were promised.
What I love about Till Death is that it is genre-savvy. Mark, somehow, removed all the clothes from the house (save Emma’s wedding dress), the weapons/tools, disabled the phone lines, and messed with the engine to keep Emma trapped in this frozen place—not to mention carrying his dead weight around.
Apparently, since they couldn’t get a mannequin to look realistic enough, Megan Fox was actually dragging around a stunt man in the scenes where she was dragging her dead husband.
“He did some amazing things, like where we had to fall down the stairs. He’s just in his boxers like the character was not wearing clothes. So he took that fall down the stairs, handcuffed to me with no pads, with nothing. He went through some brutal [stunts],” she told Fox News. “I mean, he’s being dragged around on the ground, the entire movie, like through the weirdest terrains and circumstances in nothing but his boxers and he didn’t complain. Not one word. He was Bulgarian so he was tough. But yeah, it was a weird job for him, I don’t know how he feels about it, but what a weird experience.”
Going back to the genre-savvy aspect, what I loved was watching Emma remain strong in the face of all of this absolute chaos. Her husband hires a man who previously stabbed her and went to jail for it to kill her, and yet, in the face of all of it, she works to survive. Some have wondered if she’s unrealistic and too calm in this situation, and honestly, after the hyper-realism of A Promising Young Woman, the cathartic realism of this film really resonated with me.
Horror films are used to showing vulnerable women turning into warriors of some kind in the face of everything. We don’t need our heroine to turn into a blubbering mess to show that they have feelings. For me, watching Fox go full John McClane was fitting with the kind of character actress she is. Not to mention she does get scared, but she doesn’t let that fear stop her from acting. All the men who cause her harm in this film are not new to her.
It’s the husband who has tried to control and belittle her. It is the same man who stabbed her in the back over a decade ago—and even back then, she stabbed one of his eyes out in the incident.
That is cathartic to watch. It is refreshing that she is resilient, smart, and that, in the face of everything, she survives—survives to be free to live her own life, and the assholes who tried to control her end up in the frozen bottom of a lake.
Good for her.
(featured image: Screen Media Films)
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