Producers: Timothy Woodward Jr., Natalie Burn and Jeffrey Reddick Director: Timothy Woodward Jr. Screenplay: Chad Law and Shane Dax Taylor Cast: Cam Gigandet, Natalie Burn, Jason Patric, Orlando Jones, Ser’Darius Blain, Pancho Moler, Neb Chupin, D.Y. Sao, Sam Lee Herring, Alan Silva and Nicole Arlyn Distributor: Cineverse
Natalie Burn is no Julia Roberts, and “Til Death Do Us Part” is no “Runaway Bride,” though Timothy Woodward Jr.’s movie begins with a leave-him-at-the-altar scene that suggests it might be a rom-com. But it quickly turns into something that, while not exactly a horror movie, is certainly a horrible one, given its abundance of violence and gore, as well as its groan-inducing attempts at dark humor.
Burns plays the bride who leaves her groom (Ser’Darius Blain) unwed, fleeing the ceremony to take refuge at her late father’s posh estate. She’s followed there by the seven groomsmen, led by the best man (Cam Gigandet); the others are played by D.Y. Sao, Sam Lee Herring, Orlando Jones, Alan Silva, and the only two to have nicknames—hulking Big Sexy (Neb Chupin) and little person T-Bone (Pancho Moler). The groom orders them to keep an eye on her until he can arrive.
Interspersed with the “present day” scenes set at the estate are flashbacks to the trip to Puerto Rico where the couple got engaged. While there they meet an older married couple (Jason Patric and Nicole Arlyn) at a bar, and the next morning the latter invite them for a day of fishing on their yacht. During the day, the engaged couple’s real purpose in coming to the island is revealed.
All the characters, it turns out, are, or were, employees of an outfit called The University, which is an academy of assassins, one to which every employee is supposed to be committed for life. And while the groom and groomsmen are meant to bring the bride back to the organization—and the altar—she has other ideas, which cause the men to aim for a more definitive outcome.
So what follows is a cat-and-mouse scenario in which each man confronts the bride, still dressed in her gown, in bloody combat, and she dispatches them one after another, often without a weapon but sometimes employing one, like a sword or—in one case—even a chainsaw. The final battle, of course, is between bride and groom, presented as a sort of dance of death.
Burn, in fact, uses her training in dance—she performed in ballet—to pull off some agile moves, which must have been difficult in such a flowing dress. Her acting, however, is at best rudimentary and her line deliveries stiff. Blain tries to seem smooth but is decidedly uncharismatic as the unlucky groom, and most of the groomsmen are blandly forgettable; the exceptions are Moler and Chupin, who are intended to provide humor as the physically mismatched Big Sexy and T-Bone, but their banter is thoroughly uninspired, and their scenes slow things down to a crawl. So do the flashbacks with Patric. He brings a grizzled worldliness to the cynical character, but his monologues are incredibly boring, and his on-and-off sequence ends with a predictable thud rather than a clever twist.
But the worst of the lot is Gigandet, who struts about irritating his comrades—and us—by endlessly repeating his best man speech. He strives to be suavely comic as he orders the others about and dances to a stream of period rock he plays on the audio system, failing miserably to generate anything but tedium over his hapless posing. Woodward has done him absolutely no favors in giving him so much screen time, nor has editor Fady Jeanbart by letting his (presumably improvised) bits run on to such inordinate length.
On the other hand, Markos Keyto’s production design is actually quite elegant, and Pablo Diez’s widescreen cinematography is lush, with the Puerto Rico-set beach sequences especially attractive. The bridal gown and tuxes designed by Katherine Hegarty and Tate Scofield are on the money, but Matthew Patrick Donne’s score is rendered pretty much insignificant by the use of popular songs on the soundtrack.
You’ll undoubtedly conclude that this repetitive movie, running only a few minutes under two hours, doesn’t depart the screen fast enough.