Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is going to die tomorrow. She knows it for a fact; she sees it coming. And so can we: It’s colored strobe lights, slow-motion photography, and the opening of Mozart’s Requiem. It’s convincing, but when Amy’s friend Jane (Jane Adams) shows up, we get another point of view: Amy is an alcoholic, and her prophecy might just be a relapse. “Technically a relapse,” Amy admits.
But then Jane goes home and sees the colored strobes too. She visits her brother, Jason (Chris Messina), and his wife, Susan (Katie Aselton). Susan dismisses Jane’s peculiar behavior, mental illness runs in the family, but then they too see the light. And it’s starting to take shape, resembles the microscopic images Jane spends her free time photographing. It’s dramatic and abstract all in one.
Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, She Dies Tomorrow is a low-budget curse film where madness spreads like an infectious disease: Sometimes in the form of substance abuse, sometimes in the form of violence, sometimes in the form of unfulfilling romantic relationships. Cinematographer Jay Keitel cribs from the Bruce Surtees playbook, and keeps nighttime interiors so dark they’re practically impenetrable. It fits the story, whose meaning is so cloaked in mystery and unanswered questions, each viewer will simultaneously assume they know what it’s about while understanding nothing. As one character quotes, “Humans are the only animal that pretends to be something they’re not.” That one comes courtesy Albert Camus, why it’s here is anybody’s guess.
She Dies Tomorrow (2020)
Written and directed by Amy Seimetz
Produced by Justin Benson, David Lawson Jr., Aaron Moorhead, Amy Seimetz
Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Katie Aselton, Chris Messina, Josh Lucas, Adam Wingard
Neon, Rated R, Running time 84 minutes, Opens at drive-ins on July 31; streaming on August 7.