Amy Seimetz’s terrifying-yet-cathartic directorial debut explores depression and anxiety with refreshing nuance and sensitivity. Kate Lyn Sheil plays Amy, who has become convinced that she will die tomorrow. We watch, with increasing concern, as she traipses around her house listening to Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’ score on repeat. Her closest friend scoffs at first, but then she too comes to the same conclusion: that they’re both about to cash in their chips. Similar to the sexually-transmitted virus in 2014 horror hit It Follows, the ‘baddie’ in She Dies Tomorrow can’t be seen – but much like real-life psychological issues, that doesn’t make it any less deadly.
The film feels very personal. Not only does the protagonist share Seimetz’s first name, but it delivers a sensory overload that totally nails that feeling of losing control. You can’t help but wonder if the talented writer-director is drawing on her own experiences. Her’s is a slow-burn approach to storytelling that won’t be for everyone, but there’s enough mystery here to sustain interest, plus a few jolts of pleasing comedy. A talented cast of indie stalwarts – all long-time friends of Seimetz – oozes chemistry and class.
However, where She Dies Tomorrow really shines is in the way it provokes debate. The idea that a mode of thought might be contagious is fascinating. Directly quoting Albert Camus midway through the film (“We’re all gonna die. I just think we should be able to talk about it, right?”), Seimetz also asks her characters – and ultimately her audience – to confront their own mortality – something many of us have been doing during lockdown.
When Amy’s “tomorrow” finally does arrive, the film stops short of giving us a clear-cut ending – a decision that some will find difficult to accept after the first half’s minimalist strangeness, which can be a bit of a slog at times. But it takes courage to tackle such weighty themes – and even more to be able to laugh about them in the process. It’s this fearlessness that makes She Dies Tomorrow such an astonishing near-death experience.
- Director: Amy Seimetz
- Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley
- Released: August 28 (Curzon Home Cinema)