No one can accuse the horror genre of lacking female empowerment offerings. While the list of movies might differ from person to person, the concept of “the final girl” is a much-celebrated trope in horror. It gave birth to some of our favorite leading ladies. That same genre is what embraced Jennifer’s Body, Diablo Cody’s attempt at utilizing pop culture references into a demon possession film. At the time, the movie found little success and was shrugged off by the mainstream as a means to exploit Megan Fox’s newfound fame. Now, it’s hard to find a horror thread on feminism that doesn’t name-drop Jennifer along with the unforgettable performance by Fox.
The story of an indie rock band using a teen girl’s body as a sacrifice to the devil for wealth and fame backfires when it turns out she’s not really a virgin and becomes a vessel for a boy-hungry demon. There’s a lot to dig into when revisiting, especially when it comes to sisterhood as well the disposal/objectification of females in pop culture. The beauty of Jennifer’s Body is that it also works as a fun, bloody movie to watch. However, the media hates an outspoken woman, especially young ones, and Fox’s career dwindled after some comments about her experiences with director Michael Bay were printed. The beauty of the world is that everyone loves a comeback. Fox has been popping here and there, both onscreen and on the red carpet thanks to highly publicized romances. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers that Ryan Murphy will cast her in a future season of American Horror Story as she would kick ass on that series. Until then, she has some offerings in 2021 including director S.K. Dale’s TILL DEATH.
Emma (Fox) is introduced as a married, but unhappy wife. She’s having an affair, not for any malicious reasons, but maybe to escape her reality. Her husband, Mark (Eoin Macken) is a very wealthy man who prefers things his way. Emma isn’t wearing the color he likes for their anniversary, but that’s okay because they can stop by home and she’ll change. He disregards her opinions and she’s not looking forward to being blindfolded while he drives her to her anniversary present. She ends up at a house in the middle of nowhere, wakes up, and finds herself handcuffed to her now-dead husband. Did he set this all up? What secrets did he have? And who are these visitors that want her dead?
Dale has a knack for setting up scenarios for Emma to maneuver her way around. He’s aware that we are watching a movie where a dead body is constantly being dragged around and doesn’t shy away from the humor. Beautifully shot, TILL DEATH knows its audience wants suspense and blood and it delivers.
However, the issue here is actually Emma. There’s no doubt that Megan Fox kicks ass and shines during fight sequences, but it’s the quieter moments that she struggles with. The marriage drama that initially drives the movie feels flat and uninteresting. Like Emma, Fox looks bored during dinner and seems to be reading off the script pages. When the action kicks in, her star power shines, but it takes a while to get there.
Ultimately, TILL DEATH is a mixed bag, but manages to entertain a bit once that excitement kicks in. Catch it in theaters and On Demand on July 2, 2021.