The haunting thing about She Dies Tomorrow is that although its fundamental character is sure she is going to… well, you understand… it’s nearly impossible to nail down how she actually feels about it.
One would think the most obvious response to one’s imminent demise would be terror. But as writer-director Amy Seimetz’s protagonist (also named Amy and played with transfixing subtlety by Kate Lyn Sheil) reproduces the words”I’m going to die tomorrow” to anyone who will hear, that doesn’t appear to be her encounter.
Seimetz, who co-created Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience and used the money she earned starring in 2019’s Pet Sematary movie to fund this movie –which debuts Friday in select drive-ins and following weekend on VOD.
She Dies Tomorrow joins a growing number of artists who have unwittingly created artwork that feels totally fitted into our moment. The movie obsesses over the proximity of death–the realization that despite all we might tell ourselves, death is all around uswaiting for us and everybody we like to stumble into its grasp sooner than we allowed ourselves to think was possible.
Amy has just moved into a home as the movie opens. She is standing at her window, crying and stopping, downing wine and enjoying Mozart’s”Requiem, K. 626: Lacrimosa” on repeat while googling urns–a functionality of sadness for an audience of one that Seimetz treats as simultaneously tragic and funny.
Soon enough Amy is drunkenly setting up her wood floors in a sequin dress and mumbling to her friend, Jane, about how the wood was alive and now it’s dead but useful. She wants her corpse to be repurposed by Jane .
Initially Amy’s insistence that she’s going to die smacks of suicidality–especially given the amount of wine she’s glugging in an apparent alcoholic relapse. But as Jane leaves her friend to her own devices from frustration and stays down for a night of job photographing microscopic particles, the real terror takes form in the form of a contagion: Jane, also, suddenly realizes beyond all doubt that she will die tomorrow.
As the movie unfolds, character after character becomes convinced that they share the identical fate. Jane’s brother, Jason (Chris Messina) and his wife, Susan, clearly notify their daughter that she is going to become an orphan. Their friends Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) and Tilly (Jennifer Kim) finish a connection that is already dragged on weeks longer than it ought to have.
The heart of the movie is its deliberate lack of heart–its dissociative eliminate. Its characters’ relationships are dysfunctional both before and after they become convinced they are going to die, but more space is just created by the passing revelation between all them since they impotently attempt to create sense of what to do next.
Neither Amy–that the personality nor the manager –provides the very simple answer of legible emotions. Everyone in this film callousness treats family and their friends with marked detachment and, occasionally.
In lieu of feelings, She Dies Tomorrow chooses aesthetics and thematic loops as its principal language. It makes sense; in several ways, death as the fate that awaits us all and a concept elides words. It is an emptiness sensed through and to be stared right into.
Amy never actually says how she feels about her proximity to death–along with her silent responses speak to a deeper, more intricate experience than simple fear or sorrow.
In among the film’s most evocative moments, the camera audiences Amy’s face, as a pulsating collection of blinding, colorful lights encircle it. As the colors throb, micro-expressions flit across the face in quick succession of Amy. Sometimes blue light illuminates a expression and eyesin other moments, Amy’s face traces at orgasmic euphoria, cast in light which renders her irises. With every flash that is new, Amy seems to find a new inflection inside the space between terror and ecstasy. The whimpers she releases could be expressions of fear or rapture.
Then, suddenly, Seimetz cuts Amy revealing a friend the home –which makes explicit the degree to which she must perform mundanity for those who can’t understand her problem.
“Death, for Amy, appears to be neither purely a relief nor a weight, but rather a continuous bedfellow–a thing a few people begin walking alongside us daily while some appear either blissfully unaware or insistently ignorant. “
It’s apparent Amy isn’t suicidal per se, but her connection with death might feel familiar to anybody who has spent any significant quantity of time managing suicidal thoughts.
Death, for Amy, appears to be neither purely a relief nor a weight, but instead a constant bedfellow–a thing some people view wa