Amy Seimetz’s ‘She Dies Tomorrow’ Is Timely Existential Horror and So Much More

Amy Seimetz’s ‘She Dies Tomorrow’ Is Timely Existential Horror and So Much More

The most haunting thing about She Dies Tomorrow is that although its central character is certain she’s going to… well, you know… it’s almost impossible to nail down how she actually feels about it.

One would think that the most obvious reaction 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) repeats the words “I’m going to die tomorrow” to anyone who will listen, that doesn’t seem to be her experience.

Seimetz, who co-created Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience and used the money she earned starring in 2019’s Pet Sematary remake to fund this film—which debuts Friday in select drive-ins and next weekend on VOD.

She Dies Tomorrow joins a growing number of artists who have unintentionally created art that feels perfectly fitted to our moment. The film obsesses over the proximity of death—the realization that despite whatever we might tell ourselves, death is all around us, waiting for us and everyone we love to stumble into its grasp sooner than we ever allowed ourselves to believe was possible.

Amy has just moved into a house as the film opens. She’s standing at her window, crying and stopping, downing wine and playing Mozart’s “Requiem, K. 626: Lacrimosa” on repeat while googling urns—a performance of sadness for an audience of one that Seimetz treats as simultaneously tragic and comical.

Soon enough Amy is drunkenly feeling up her wood floors in a sequin dress and mumbling to her friend, Jane, about how the wood was once alive and now it’s dead but useful. She wants Jane to repurpose her corpse into a leather jacket.

At first 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 out of frustration and sits down for a night of work photographing microscopic particles, the real horror takes shape in the form of a contagion: Jane, too, suddenly realizes beyond all doubt that she will die tomorrow.

As the film unfolds, character after character becomes convinced that they share the same fate. Jane’s brother, Jason (Chris Messina) and his wife, Susan, plainly inform their daughter that she is about to become an orphan. Their friends Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) and Tilly (Jennifer Kim) end a relationship that’s already dragged on months longer than it should have.

The heart of this movie is its intentional lack of heart—its dissociative remove. Its characters’ relationships are dysfunctional both before and after they become convinced they’re going to die, but the death revelation only creates more space between all of them as they impotently try to make sense of what to do next.

Neither Amy—the character nor the director—offers the simple answer of legible emotions. Everyone in this film treats their friends and family with marked detachment and, sometimes, callousness.

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