After waking up convinced that she is going to die tomorrow, Amy’s (Kate Lyn Sheil) carefully mended life begins to unravel. As her delusions of certain death become contagious to those around her, Amy and her friends’ lives spiral out of control in a tantalizing descent into madness.
Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow wastes no time in letting the audience know that it is an extremely weird movie. Right from the opening sequence alone, we get the sense that this world and these characters are both filled with dread and have absolutely no hope left in them. Rarely do films feel as dour and depressing as this one, and that’s certainly not a bad thing here.
We are all going to die someday. It’s a realization that many of us simply do not want to accept. We like our lives and we want them to go on forever and ever, but that is just not possible. We were not placed on this Earth to exist here for hundreds of millions of years. We all die someday.
But what if you thought that you only had one more day left on Earth and that your time will come the following day? What would you do with your final day? Would you go and tell everybody that you love how much they meant to you and how much you cherished every second with them? Would you go and do whatever you wanted because there is no tomorrow and as a result, there will be no punishment? Or would you simply do nothing and sit around panicking and worrying about your death? These are all topics that get touched upon in She Dies Tomorrow, even if its handling of these subjects can get a little bit messy.
There are several instances in which the film can feel as though it is running out of steam and things to say. It’s a movie with a running time of only eighty-four minutes and sadly, after about the first forty minutes, it feels a little bit lifeless. No pun intended. The first and second acts are genuinely unsettling and place you in the mind of a woman who is convinced that she is going to die the next day. She doesn’t want to accept this and starts to exhibit incredibly bizarre and troublesome behavior.
One of the best scenes in the film sees our lead protagonist Amy in the bathroom with strobe lights flashing all around her as she lays on the ground, slowly rising and walking towards the viewer with a gigantic smile on her face. Mix that immense uncomfortableness with the remarkably beautiful and colorful cinematography from Jay Keitel and you get one of the most disturbing scenes of the year. On top of all of that, Kate Lyn Sheil’s performance makes the scene all the more frightful. She feels incredibly raw and grounded in the role of Amy. She’s unpredictable and is a character that you can never really get a grasp on, making her fascinating to follow.
But when Amy’s actions and beliefs of her death occurring the next day start to rub off onto her friend Jane (Jane Adams), the film slows down a little bit. Jane was not as interesting a character as Amy was, and some of the scenes involving Jane were uneventful. Instead of touching upon the tremendous grief that one goes through when they are aware of their impending death, the film instead opts to go down a more quiet and methodical route instead of a visceral one. After a while, it felt like a case of style over substance.
None of that changes the fact that She Dies Tomorrow is a surprisingly disturbing and interesting take on what people go through when they are about to die. It can occasionally feel like it’s more style than substance, but luckily the first two acts are strong enough to hold its weight.
She Dies Tomorrow is an unorthodox and intriguing take on the topic of death even if it occasionally feels like a case of style over substance.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual references, drug use, and bloody images
Directed by: Amy Seimetz
Distributed by: Neon
Release Date: July 31, 2020
Running Time: 84 minutes