She Dies Tomorrow Review: Seimetz creates a mind-bending, horrifying, and timely look at fear and death
The new film from writer/director, and frequent actress, Amy Seimetz, She Dies Tomorrow, has been labeled as timely pandemic thriller lately and, after seeing it, it certainly lives up to that mark.
The film follows Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) – who is dying…tomorrow. Well, she at least thinks she is, and her downer attitude has her friend Jane (Jane Adams) worried about her since she’s a recovering alcoholic who is now living alone after she just bought a house. However, after she visits Amy, Jane succumbs to the same thoughts about death and it becomes increasingly obvious that Amy’s death debacle is incredibly contagious. So, as more and more become infected with these fatal thoughts, they start to think about death, what they’ll miss, and how they actually view things as their tomorrow quickly comes.
She Dies Tomorrow instantly evokes a sense of hopeless and unbridled fear that makes it a dauntingly perfect horror/thriller for the time. With Amy’s deathly mindset being wildly contagious, Seimetz brings the idea of fear spreading to life as we literally see it travel from person to person. Most people, if not everyone, have moments in their lives where they fear death – sometimes it’s the worry that someone else is dying or possibly themselves. Everyone has different reactions, feelings, and thoughts upon hearing about death and even when the word comes into the conversation. The film tackles this greatly as everyone’s unique reactions to death weave together the narrative, which can be all over the place at times, and is incredibly compelling to watch.
Honestly, there isn’t a single bad performance here as everyone brings out their respective characters own views of death as it rapidly consumes them. There’re plenty of incredibly dark and even disturbing moments of how some characters choose to handle them possibly dying the next day. Certain characters handle things a little more selflessly as married couple Jason (Chris Messina) and Susan (Katie Aselton) worry about their daughter’s safety and well-being and Sky (Michelle Rodriguez) and Erin (Olivia Taylor Dudley) talk about what they’ll miss about life. There’s even something incredibly sad, but meaningful about what Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) decides to do about his father. Others, though, have their inner issues come out as Tilly (Jennifer Kim) chooses to say some pretty harsh stuff to Brian on their final day together and Jane’s selfish desires to not be alone are what really kick off the infection spreading.
It’s all pretty fascinating to watch and there’s a surreal strangeness to Amy contemplating how to spend her last day. Her fantasy of her skin being turned into a leather jacket is both creepy as hell and kind of intriguing because of how it affects her. Although, she’s accepted that she’s going to die tomorrow, there’s still this sense of dread, sadness, and fear that makes you connect with her and even kind of concerned for her. It’s a perfect visual representation of fear spreading and consuming people that makes it a horrifically relatable and real thriller to watch during this pandemic. The mind-bending visuals Seitmetz brings are equally unsettling as the bright colorful lights and even some of Jane’s pictures of what she sees under a microscope create adds to the hypnotizing allure of this, essentially, virus spreading. Not to mention, there’s also a pretty intriguing mystery about what the exact fate of everyone is as it’s almost like a mysterious presence is haunting them.
The film also, unfortunately, gives new meaning to the term “slow-burn” because this film truly moves at a snail’s pace. The big issue this film has is sort of the aimlessness of the plot as it’s cut together like it’s an anthology but jumps all over the place. Some scenes that are adjacent to one another don’t flow as well and there was even a point with Amy’s story that confused me because I couldn’t tell if it was a part of a previous flashback or not. Even for all the great depth and intrigue that comes with someone becoming infected by fear, the effect of it starts to wear off because it’s just the same process over and over again. Basically, whoever becomes infected just becomes really dour and sad and the continuousness of it loses its shock value pretty quick. Frankly, the film just needs a stronger element to keep viewers strung along and a something to cling onto. Perhaps the film could’ve actually used the entirety of Mozart’s Requeim, rather than just Lacrimosa over and over again, to add more to the emotion and tone. It doesn’t though, so its easy to find yourself drowning in the depressing and downer nature of the film with no real escape.
Anyone looking for some kind of escape from the dread that this pandemic and 2020 as a whole has presented time and time again probably won’t be too interested in what She Dies Tomorrow has to offer – but it’s far from bad. With her latest film, Seimetz creates an incredibly timely horror/thriller that reflects the spreading of fear and the devastation that death can have on someone’s mind to a depressing, but intriguing new level.