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TILL DEATH: 3 ½ STARS. “worth a look for fans of survival horror.”

“Till Death,” the new thriller from Megan Fox, now on VOD, sees an unhappily married woman wake up one morning, handcuffed to her soon-to-be-dead husband Mark (Eoin Macken). Like an unholy mix of “Sleeping with the Enemy,” “Weekend at Bernie’s” and “Saw,” it’s a study in the toll emotional abuse takes, and the resilience required to rise above it.

Before the handcuffs and the literal interpretation of the “Till death do us part,” wedding vow, Emma (Fox) feels trapped by a loveless marriage. But as her eleventh wedding anniversary looms, she calls off the relationship she’s been having behind her lawyer husband’s back with his associate Tom (Aml Ameen) and accepts Mark’s invitation for a weekend away to work on their relationship. “Things have been bad between us,” he says, “and I’m sorry.”

At first the weekend seems to be heading toward healing the scars that mar their marriage. But things take a dark twist when Emma wakes up, hungover and handcuffed to Mark as he then shoots himself in the head. Connected to his corpse, Emma finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game of survival. “I have been chained to this nightmare all day!”

“Till Death,” just one of the five films Fox has scheduled for release in the 2021/22 season, begins like a hundred other thrillers. A bad marriage, a vague sense of unease and a remote location. And so what if Fox appears to be on autopilot in the film’s opening minutes? There’s a hint of some neo-noir action in the air.

It takes about twenty-five minutes, but by the time Mark blows his head off, filling the air with a bloody mist, the movie finally distinguishes itself as the nasty piece of work it is. It also gives Fox the opportunity to branch out from disinterested to engaged as director S.K. Dale allows her to shed the story’s dead weight (literally) and shine. She hands in a fun performance that is more subtle than the movie’s main metaphor of a late, toxic husband as a literal anchor or ball-and-chain.

“Till Death” is a simple movie of survival. When two abusers (Callan Mulvey and Jack Roth) from Emma’s past arrive as part of Mark’s master scheme to terrorize her, she must muster all the courage she has from years of pent-up frustration to stay alive. There aren’t many twists and turns you won’t see coming, but slick direction, a tense score, a self-depreciating tone and Fox’s study in resilience should earn the movie a look from fans of survival horror.

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