Monday, October 24, 2016

Till Death (1978)

Hardcore horror fans will get more out of this one than general viewers, because Till Death is a slow burn that’s all about ambiguity and mood. If you dig lingering shots of cars driving through fog and creepy implications of necrophilia, then Till Death might satisfy your expectations despite its low budget and threadbare storyline. If not, Till Death will seem boring and unsatisfying, the sort of thing better suited to a 30-minute vignette within an anthology flick. It’s not terrible, but it’s so padded and slow-moving that even the kicker at the ending fails to justify the slog. The picture opens with a tease, because Paul Ryan (Keith Atkinson) has a horrifying nightmare during which he’s trapped in a crypt with a corpse. When he wakes, it’s the day of his wedding to Anne (Belinda Balaski). The ceremony goes well, but then, while driving through fog on the way to their honeymoon, the couple has a terrible car accident. Anne dies. After recovering from the injuries he suffered in the crash, Paul slips into a deep depression, then demands to visit his wife’s burial place. He reaches the cemetery near closing time, and he passes out inside the crypt where Anne’s body rests. By the time he regains consciousness, workers have locked him inside, so Paul spends a long night with his wife’s remains. Explaining where the story goes from there would ruin what fun there is to be had watching Till Death, though no horror fan is likely to find the big plot twists surprising. Short on real scares and long on eeriness, Till Death suffers from more than just an unwisely stretched-out running time. Leading actors Atkinson and Balaski are mediocre at best, and it would have taken exemplary performances to create the desired romantic illusion. Worse, the production values are nearly nonexistent, with most of the budget seemingly spent on fog machines and a trained cat. The filmmakers get points for trying to make an atmospheric shocker instead of something more crude, but even calling Till Death a noble attempt requires extraordinary generosity.

Till Death: LAME

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