Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is in a bad way. Battling depression and alcohol addiction, she is convinced – has come to terms with, even – that she will die the next day. Her friend Jane (Jane Adams) scoffs at the premonition. Surely it is a result of Amy’s deteriorating mental state.
Later that night, while working by herself, a feeling of physical dread hits Jane, and the epiphany hits her: Tomorrow, she will die. As the two make their way outside their houses, the perception starts spreading like a virus and the fear of what comes next cements itself in everyone Amy and Jane encounter.
The one thing I can say about She Dies Tomorrow is that it’s a fascinating movie. Is it a good movie, though? Even a week after watching it, I’m not entirely sure. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of a slog, and I still maintain that to be the case. Yet, the weirder sides of the film have stuck with me. I appreciate how it crawled under my skin.
An aside: I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that She Dies Tomorrow was filmed before the pandemic. It’s either an unfortunate coincidence or perfect timing that it saw a mid-2020 release. It’s a movie of our time.
On a technical level, the film is well made both visually and audibly. When someone realizes that they soon will die, their world turns into an Argento-esque saturated nightmare, with sounds of their worst fears stalking them. Their feelings of dread are well-conveyed on screen.
As far as the plot progression goes, there really isn’t much more to it than the
virus, and the realizations of those
infected. It slowly — slowly — leads up to the fateful next day: Does Amy eventually die?
That, to me, is secondary. The question is more what the movie actually is about. In my mind, it seems that She Dies Tomorrow is a meditation on facing one’s mortality and how our fears largely shape our lives. Do these get in the way of us making the human connections we ultimately crave? Deep thoughts, I know.
In the end, the movie doesn’t build enough of a story to hang onto. The story is too abstract for us to form any particularly emotional attachments to the characters, stellar performance by Adams (also terrific in Twin Peaks: The Return) aside.
What it all means ends up as an overly subjective read.
She Dies Tomorrow is well made on a technical level and is presumably an intensely personal story for writer/director Amy Seimetz. It is a fascinating enough movie that I can recommend it to fans of the opaque. For anyone else, it probably won’t have too much of an impact.
Letterboxd summary: Amy is ravaged by the notion that she is going to die tomorrow, which sends her down a dizzying emotional spiral. When her sceptical friend Jane discovers Amy’s feeling of imminent death to be contagious, they both begin bizarre journeys through what might be the last day of their lives.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|