Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, who used her salary from Pet Sematary to produce the film, She Dies Tomorrow was apparently inspired by anxiety attacks and anyone who has ever had one will know this from the very moment the film begins.
This is definitely a surreal arthouse critical darling. We all know these films. They’re usually without much dialogue or plot and seem to represent a single emotion, fear or trauma that’s been expanded into a feature film. Some of these work for the message they’re hoping to convey (Neon Demon, Under the Skin, Raw), and some just feel like they’re trying too hard. She Dies Tomorrow is a bit of both.
As a whole, the film is compelling, watchable, meaningful and memorable. Although it’s not something you would probably ever think much about once it’s over. You’ll remember it, but it probably won’t cross your mind ever again. There’s not much about She Dies Tomorrow that stimulates the mind or soul because I feel that only those who already understand it, will be the ones to appreciate it. It’s like reading a poem that you go into already knowing you’ll identify with it, or even one that you yourself wrote.
The film is just anxiety personified, and because of that, it’s automatically unique. It takes “anxiety” and spreads it across the screen, giving it faces and voices. That being said, it doesn’t try to say anything new. Doesn’t explain the fear or pain of anxiety, instead choosing to just show it in the raw form.
I wanted to share this tiny review I saw on Letterbox:
“A feature film adaptation of that thing where you mention that you don’t know where your tongue is supposed to rest in your mouth.” This person gets it. I really couldn’t have said it better myself. Another good description is that annoying itch in the back of your head that comes when you can’t remember a word that’s on the tip of your tongue. When you can feel it tickling back there but you can’t get it out. The whole movie is just that.
The film opens with a young woman named Amy. She’s just bought a house but is reeling from the sudden death of her boyfriend who seemed to have been in a strange panic before he died. Drinking glass after glass of wine and standing numbly outside in the moonlight, Amy is definitely not okay. However when her friend Jane comes over to try and comfort her, Amy reveals what’s really bothering her – she’s going to die tomorrow.
How does she know she’s going to die? She just knows. She can’t explain it, but something inside her believes that tomorrow will be her last day on Earth.
Jane doesn’t believe her, of course, but then this strange thought seems to “infect” her and she starts believing the same thing. In a concept very similar to It Follows, Amy’s anxiety somehow spreads to Jane, unveiling itself in a bright display of red and blue colors, locking her in a wide-eyed trance.
Things then follow as such. Jane spreads it to someone else and they spread it to someone else, who then spreads it to someone else. Eventually, you have a whole group of people thinking they’re just hours away from their final moments. The fear causes them to act irrationally and their obsession with thinking something bad will happen has all but guaranteed that it will as they bring it upon themselves.
There really isn’t much to say about this film. It’s a single emotion stretched out into 84 minutes and you’ll either like it or hate it. There is no real narrative, maybe just a fraction of one. The majority is just the characters going through this spreading anxiety.
For the most part, it’s a bit intriguing but it’s more subtext than it is story and after a while, that intrigue wore off and I was starting to feel the time drag on. The true highlight is the final 25 or so minutes. That’s when things get really interesting as the fragmented story backtracks to Amy’s dead boyfriend, their relationship, and how he got “infected.” She Dies Tomorrow is a promising film but I wish it went in a different direction. Maybe focused on how the “infection” slowly overcame one person in particular and then end it with spreading the fear to someone else.(3 / 5)
All photos are property of Rustic Films