She Dies Tomorrow
Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow is a timely and effective psychological thriller that blends together the uncertainty of death and our own mortality with the concept of spreading fear and panic. It's probably not the best movie to watch during a virus pandemic, but damn if it doesn't send chills up your spine.
Director/writer Amy Seimetz‘s She Dies Tomorrow is an intriguing slice of indie cinema as it makes for a horror film with hardly any violence and instead an underlying feeling of dread and fear as panic mysteriously spreads from one character to the next. Think It Follows with a dash of topical importance and chilling relevance amongst the COVID-19 outbreak that is terrifying humans on a worldwide spread. She Dies Tomorrow either has a brilliant marketing team or can truly see into the future, landing on VOD platforms as most countries are still experiencing the aftermath of a deadly virus that has surely altered our own fears.
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is in the process of moving into a new place, slowly accepting her new life as she gets comfortable and situated. Suddenly, fear strikes as she can’t seem to shake the notion that she is going to die tomorrow. There was no warning or any real buildup, yet she can’t seem to shake this terrifying thought that is feeling more real and growing into a fact with each new second in the day. Amy tries to loosen the burden by confiding in her friend Jane (Jane Adams), but quickly realizes that there’s no outrunning this certainty.
That is as far as I care to go into the plot of She Dies Tomorrow as the rest of the film unfolds in such a unique and intriguing way that builds on everything before it. Watching the trailer for something like this certainly might paint the film in a different, less accurate light, but the trailer definitely helped sell the bizarre plot for this film and the stylistic choices that director/writer Amy Seimetz has decided to incorporate into her latest film.
Let me throw up a disclaimer noting that She Dies Tomorrow is not for everyone. This film is a depressing trek, serving as a metaphor for fear and panic as they seem to spread just as quick (if not quicker) than an actual virus or disease.
The timing of this film’s release makes it impossible not to compare the feelings of She Dies Tomorrow to the feelings that we have all shared over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak. To call this film a reflection of our modern times is to hit the nail on the head, thus making She Dies Tomorrow an interesting look into the human brain as it attempts to cope with uncertain (and certain) death that isn’t always seeable or preventable (without the proper care).
I felt nostalgic towards It Follows while unpacking this movie. For those of you that don’t recall, It Follows is a smartly-written horror film that commentated heavily on STD’s and rape victims through its clever use of horror mythology and the fear of what others can’t see.
She Dies Tomorrow approaches its main concept through the same lens, leaning heavily on the viewer to interpret the film however they feel, without clearly spelling out what the film means or what the viewer should take away from it.
These movies are hard to unpack on a critical level, because I believe that everyone has the ability to take away a lot or a little, depending on how they want to interact with the film and depending on if they feel that this film comments on a certain aspect or emotion throughout the viewer’s life.
For me, I immediately related it to the fear and panic of COVID-19, but digging deeper I could relate to the unknown and sudden realization of death and the fragility of our own mortality. We don’t really stop to look death in the eyes until our number is up or until someone we know has been directly impacted by it, yet death lingers in the shadows of our daily lives. She really could die tomorrow, as could you or even myself — yet we continue to move forward through life for various reasons, hoping that our number isn’t called for years to come.
And for that, I credit She Dies Tomorrow for being unafraid to tackle ambiguity and the unknown through a stylistic approach that provides some unique visuals and a sequence of events that reflect on this notion in similar, but different fashions.
That being said, the film does kind of feel repetitive and rather bleak in its approach, which I can’t discredit the skill or craft involved, but I can come out and say that the film wasn’t entirely my cup of tea nor something I care to revisit anytime soon.
And that’s fine, because something like She Dies Tomorrow isn’t a film set out to be for everyone. It’s a film for those looking to seek it out, experience it, unpack it and discuss it with others over a night of drinks. It’s a film that will creep up into the back of your head on a slow evening when you’ve got nothing to do but to look up at the stars. It’s not a film that you run around and recommend to all of your family members or a film that you gather your buddies up for a screening at your house — it’s a film that is meant to be chewed on and tossed around in your head for a while until you eventually have the urge to spit out everything you’ve experienced.
And I have no doubts that some will dislike their experience with this film, while others will let it simmer and soak for years to come. I am glad that I took a chance on it and rented it, but I doubt I will be looking to revisit it anytime soon.
She Dies Tomorrow is now available to rent or own on most VOD platforms.