"Is This How it Ends?": She Dies Tomorrow Is a Bleak and Dryly Funny Nightmare
Amy Seimetz new film succeeds with an overall sense of nihilism mixed with bizarre, deadpan humor.
5 Stars out of 5
The real tragedy of being human is our awareness of our own eventual death coupled with our inability to do anything about it. Most of our day-to-day lives are spent with activities and distractions that the thought never really comes up, but every now and then the foreknowledge of inevitable obliteration comes creeping back. That thought is over every frame of Amy Seimetz's (Sun Don't Shine) film She Dies Tomorrow. The result is a visually dazzling, strangely funny spiral into despair.
The film (based on Seimetz's own nightmares) begins with Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) returning to her new home in some kind of fugue state. She calls her friend Jane (Jane Adams) to tell her that this will be her (Amy's) last day alive. Jane dismisses this as a drunken outburst (Amy is a recovering alcoholic) but we soon learn that her feelings are contagious, as friends and neighbors in the quiet suburb also become struck with the belief that they will die tomorrow.
The drab, minimal production design combined with rich cinematography and an oppressive score turn this simple neighborhood into a surreal dreamscape. The characters' mundane conversations can suddenly turn foreboding with a simple change of lighting or emotions can go into overdrive with a flickering, almost psychedelic light show. This gives the film an overall sense of nihilism mixed with bizarre, deadpan humor. The image of people sitting at home anxiously dreading the inevitable is a pertinent one at the moment, but Seimetz is after something deeper. She seems to suggest that the fear of tomorrow isn't unique to our time. It is the natural human state. She Dies Tomorrow is currently available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play. — Forest Taylor
Written and Directed by: Amy Seimetz // Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton, Chris Messina, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Josh Lucas, Michelle Rodriguez, Olivia Taylor Dudley, and Adam Wingard // 86 minutes // Rated R