Review: She Dies Tomorrow
Amy Seimetz’s apocalyptic horror plays out as intriguing mystery and disorienting sensory experience
Written by Katherine McLaughlin
Amy Seimetz’s ambiguous horror perfectly captures that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. She wrote and directed the film way before the pandemic set in, and so the anxiety and distress, existential dread and impending doom may tap into the current mood but it also plays out as an intriguing mystery to unfold and a disorienting sensory experience.
Seimetz doesn’t give much away and at first glance, the mystifying behaviour of the main character, Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is like that of a woman mourning a break-up. She’s playing a Mozart requiem on repeat like there’s no tomorrow – and maybe there won’t be – and calling her close friend Jane (Jane Adams) to keep her company. But it’s not a break-up, or anything tangible that’s causing Amy’s misery, it’s her hilariously morbid obsession with death and it’s contagious.
Amy spends her time neurotically browsing the internet searching for the ideal vessel for her remains. She switches between an urn and turning her skin into a leather jacket – something which she requests Jane to do on her demise. When Jane is gripped by the fear she rushes to her basement laboratory to create and explore – her experiments appear on screen as beautiful, oozing imagery. Jane then embarks on a search for affection and spreads it to her brother Jason (Chris Messina) and then to his larger-than-life wife Susan (Katie Aselton) who is celebrating her birthday with friends. This is a film about the things people say and do, the people they reach out to or disengage with, and the self-reflection that occupies their minds when they believe it’s the end. It’s a film where the desperately sad meets the darkly funny.
Seimetz has crafted a hypnotic voyage into the unknown and the uncertain, that blushes with an intense stream of vivid colours, vast landscapes and fascinating characters. Cinematographer Jay Keitel drenches actors in neon light as they are gripped by the fear, and each character’s reaction to the situation, where vulnerability or truth is revealed, offers weirdly profound value. The great ensemble cast, including a very welcome appearance from Michelle Rodriguez, turn in a combination of brilliantly natural and distinctive performances.
Usually in end of the world horror films where ideas spread like a virus, or a literal virus is unleashed it’s all apocalyptic mayhem and fighting for survival but Siemetz’s film finishes on a melancholic note bordering on the serene. It all works in chaotic harmony to deliver a unique and captivating contemplation on mortality.
Director: Amy Seimetz
Writer: Amy Seimetz
Stars: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley
Running Time: 84 mins