28th August 2020 (UK VOD Premiere)
Amy thinks she's dying tomorrow...and it's contagious.
Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley
Amy is going to die tomorrow.
Or so she thinks. Nay, knows. It’s an all-encompassing dread that has embedded into her psyche as being an absolute certainty. She’s so sure, she’s online searching for how she wants her remains to be used when she kicks the bucket. Not to keep her imminent fate to herself, she informs her friend Jane about her concrete death date. Jane, understandably sceptical and a little annoyed that she had to side-track from her sister-in-law’s party to visit Amy, puts the claims down to the fact Amy’s been drinking heavily, a vice which has had a prominent grip on her in the past. Before long though, Jane too boards the same train of thought as Amy and it becomes clear that Amy’s delusions of certain death have become contagious to those around her. From here, Amy and her friends’ lives begin to spiral out of control in a tantalising descent into madness.
Rules be darned in Amy Seimetz’ second feature film She Dies Tomorrow. Told completely out of order and occasionally cutting scenes abruptly just as they are about to ‘peak’ as it were, usually signalled by its crescendoing (yes, that is a word according to The Free Dictionary) score. It’s as frustratingly perplexing as it is worthy of admiration. Seimetz’ rejection of structural convention is wonderfully stubborn, but certainly isn’t for everyone. I know how pretentious that sounds, trust me, but I’m hardly a film scholar; I will always have From Dusk Til Dawn as one of my all-time favourite films. I’m here as an advice-giver to potential viewers, to give you a small idea of what you’re in for with She Dies Tomorrow. First and foremost, then, expect to be confused. At least for the first half-an-hour so anyway.
Seimetz doesn’t want to spoon feed you the story. She hands you a fork to eat soup. And it’s served in your hands. I don’t think I’ve been more annoyed yet completely in love with a film in 2020 as I am with She Dies Tomorrow. It’s not a film of action or events. It’s one of thoughts and fears. If you’ve ever fretted about your own existence and mortality (to which I raise my hand for both counts), it’s a truly terrifying experience. If not, well, you’re likely going to be bored to tears with everything that doesn’t happen and you have my condolences. On the flip side, you’ve yet to have a crippling existential crisis, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
And still, in She Dies Tomorrow, Seimetz does the impossible by finding comedy in the darkest of places. I personally think this is mostly due to the brutal honesty that comes with some of the characters realising that their end is nigh. Things that they have been meaning to say to each other spill out like the aforementioned handheld soup with the dourest of expressions and delivered with the utmost sincerity. Its the sharp scene cuts which had me laughing too as it switches from psychedelic off-screen neon lights which occur when our spaced out and fearful players are hit with the T-Minus 24 hours death clock to the actual setting they are in, whether it be a kitchen or a restaurant. You know when you see someone fully immersed in a VR game wearing a headset and they look positively insane? It’s a little like that.
Billed as a horror movie amongst other genres, She Dies Tomorrow is – surprise, surprise – not one filled with jump scares and cheap, deafening loud bangs. For me, it lives in the same vein as 2014’s It Follows and 2008’s contained zombie movie Pontypool. The contagious aspect is obvious, but both films stuck with me long after the credits hit for the bigger questions they raise. If you let it in, it’ll sit in your brain for days, firstly as you try to unravel it all. But then it’ll persistently bring up the question of what would you do if you were faced with knowing you shall cease to exist before the end of the week. A very real scenario for many, many people and one that countless more will unfortunately have to endure.
Aaand the anxiety about what my own place and purpose on this planet could be has returned. Mission accomplished, Seimetz!
Blue Finch Film Releasing presents She Dies Tomorrow on Curzon Home Cinema and Digital Download 28 August
Terrifying for anyone who has questioned their own mortality
Still has laugh-out-loud moments amidst the gloom
Hallucinatory colour palette
Will be inaccessible to those looking for a straightforward horror
Pacing of third act