Apocalyptic Ideation Infects Viewers Invested in She Dies Tomorrow (2020)
Title: She Dies Tomorrow
First Wide Release: August 7, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Amy Seimetz
Writer: Amy Seimetz
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Director Amy Seimetz’s sophomore film She Dies Tomorrow begins with Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil). Amy has this overwhelming feeling that she will die tomorrow. She is so sure and has come to terms with this fact that she decides to confide in her best friend Jane (Jane Adams) over the phone. Jane believes that Amy is just depressed and experiencing a particularly difficult episode. She reassures Amy that she will not die tomorrow. Still, the suspicion that her friend is experiencing something difficult overwhelms her own familial issues and she decides to check in on her before going over to her sister in law’s birthday party. Her party plans will get disrupted after she learns why Amy feels this overwhelming dread and how contagious that feeling might be.
She Dies Tomorrow is an awkwardly stitched together arthouse horror that irritates more than it excites.
From the beginning of She Dies Tomorrow, the audience can tell they are in for something different, or at least that’s how its creators prepare them. Amy is disturbed by some unknown knowledge that she will in fact die the next day. She is unable to explain how or why, but she communicates this with anyone who will listen. The horror seeps in through the language of fear. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to this plodding, apocalyptic horror film.
While it uses an interesting and non-linear approach to storytelling, She Dies Tomorrow aimlessly wanders through its concept like a super low-budget carnival house of horrors. As each character, infects another, we watch their worlds turn upside down and infect others with their delusions. On paper, this sounds exciting, but really it’s an exercise in repetitive dialogue and excessive mumbling without much reasoning.
This is where I need to admit, that based on this description alone, She Dies Tomorrow was not made for me. I’ve found that films that set out for a ‘trippy’ atmosphere or simply depend on its bizarre sequences of events explained away without much explanation, don’t tend to excite me. She Dies Tomorrow makes up for its lackluster plot with some impressive visuals. I love the use of art, lights, and color. It brightens up the film’s pallet and injects some life into the lackluster characters and general repetition.
Amy, Jane, and pretty much every person you meet in She Dies Tomorrow sucks. They are all miserable people with few, if any, redeeming qualities. Why should I, as a viewer, care about anyone if they hold nothing but contempt and bitterness towards almost everyone else? This gets even more irritating when viewers are subjected to their robotic, death-obsessed tirades. It doesn’t hold much of an emotional impact.
I’m sure the monotony and cyclical nature of everything – the dialogue, the action, hell, even the score, is meant to provoke something meaningful or otherwise philosophical on the nature of human life and death, but it comes across as shallow and pretentious. Characters are asked indirectly how they would spend their final moments if they knew, for sure, they would die soon. There are some interesting answers these characters choose, but ultimately, it’s hard to care when they are neither interesting nor likeable. All we are left with are some cheesy monologues leading into moments where the score abruptly stops as fast as the scene changes to something unfamiliar and uninteresting.
A gimmicky excuse for arthouse filmmaking, She Dies Tomorrow lives and dies by its storytelling methods and excruciating pacing. She Dies Tomorrow is an exercise in endurance for even the most patient or observant viewers, offering little in the name of resolution or entertainment. While it has a neat premise and sparks some interesting discussion, it is largely a grating film that isn’t meant for anyone outside of a particular niche and would work far better as a short. I can’t recommend it to anyone except those who crave more experimental horror films, as it’ll likely frustrate most others. What would I do if I knew I was dying tomorrow? Certainly not watching this.
Overall Score? 4.5/10