Review: Cerebral 'She Dies Tomorrow' paints unsettling picture
Courtesy of NEON
The uncertain elements of the new picture “She Dies Tomorrow” - I’m not even sure what genre to throw this film into - is what drives the movie. In any other decade or timeframe the unsettling and borderline bizarre aspects of this film would be accepted and we would move on. But we’re living through a pandemic and “She Dies Tomorrow” takes on a whole new relevance and meaning. The characters know they’re going to die and once they understand that, the rest is history. Actor turned filmmaker Amy Seimetz - who took her paycheck from “Pet Sematary” to finance this wild ride - has created a daunting exercise in her second feature and one that warrants much discussion afterwards. It’s tough to watch a movie with friends while in quarantine, but this is one acid trip you shouldn’t see alone.
Kate Lyn Sheil is Amy, a recovering alcoholic who believes she’s, well, going to die tomorrow. Alone and fraught in a home she recently purchased, long-time friend Jane (Jane Adams) comes to her rescue. Still humming about how there is “no tomorrow,” Jane shrugs off Amy’s strange and suicidal thoughts as a drunken mishap until she is exposed to a darker truth, drawn to weird strobe lights where she eventually believes she will also die tomorrow.
Wasting no time, Jane crashes her brother’s (Chris Messina) birthday shindig with a slew of guests (Katie Aselton, Tunde Adebimpe, and Jennifer Kim) as the unseen force of death begins to infect them all. For Tilly (Kim) and Brian (Adebimpe) it’s a break-up where they both express why they’ve stayed in the broken relationship for so long. Others face more grueling fates.
“She Dies Tomorrow” - at only 84 minutes - manages to intercept a wide array of stories and collide them into one juicy narrative (cameos by Josh Lucas and Michelle Rodriguez proves the scale at which “death” can infect even the minor characters Jane comes into contact with). But the film is rich with lessons on anxiety, layered with rabbit holes and abnormal twists. Seimetz wisely gives the film a stark tone and borrows elements from “It Follows” to help manifest what our country might be feeling right now.
This isn’t a straightforward movie, and one that rewards repeat viewings (as of this writing, I screened the film twice) to fully comprehend the foundation Seimetz lays. It’s all by purpose and the filmmakers don’t expect you to have all the answers. Plus the confidence showcased here - the film isn’t afraid to push buttons in a time where folks could very well die tomorrow - is ballsy. I hope we can stick around long enough to see where Seimetz takes us next.
SHE DIES TOMORROW will open at select drive-ins starting Friday July 31st before heading to VOD on August 7th.