She Dies Tomorrow

NEON (2020)

 

Director: Amy Seimetz

 

Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Chris Messina, Katie Aselton, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Josh Lucas, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michelle Rodriguez

2020 has sucked. It’s been horrific and we’re not out of the woods yet. Thankfully, movies exist to provide some much-needed escapism from the very real troubles we are all currently facing. Then, along comes Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow to plunge us right back into the anxiety-fuelled mire that this year has delivered us. That’s not intended as a flippant remark as She Dies Tomorrow delivers a searingly powerful slice of paranoia and restrained hysteria collected within a purposely ambiguous eighty-four minutes that challenges you to not look away.

If you do find yourself looking away, you won’t be missing out on any exposition or required knowledge as Seimetz sidesteps the need for that – humans are complicated creatures that don’t always require explanation (or, indeed, provide any) so why should this movie? Kate Lyn Sheil’s Amy is convinced she is going to die tomorrow and this utter belief becomes contagious to anyone who comes into contact with her until her delusion proves too much for some. That’s the story and that’s all Seimetz needs you to know in her study of mortality, anxiety and fear – the contagious fear that death comes to us all and how would you handle the knowledge that your time is ending. Characters handle this colourful strobe-infused revelation in various ways and it becomes intoxicating to watch and unravel. From Amy ‘dancing’ to Mozart’s Requiem in D multiple times to a bloody swim in a random couple’s pool, She Dies Tomorrow provides plenty of moments that will make you question just what is going on and keep you glued to find out what’s going on in equal measures. It won’t be for everyone though; She Dies Tomorrow is very much in the ‘arty’ movie, the kind that veers hugely from the mainstream. Scenes are interrupted and started with disorienting close shots of blood (under a microscope) that looks a lot like lava and other viscid substances sprawling and spreading across the screen – I imagine to play into the contagion theme of the movie (despite this contagion being a psychological contagion). Dialogue and levity is sparse also, this is an experience that Seimetz is serving up. She Dies Tomorrow is challenging us in 2020 to ignore our surrounding distractions and allow ourselves to be sucked into into her spiralling descent of madness – I certainly was and after viewing the movie, I sat staring at my reflection in the screen just...pondering. Pondering what I had seen and experienced. She Dies Tomorrow isn’t a perfect movie by any means, but it’s perfect for capturing the feelings and emotions of what’s happening NOW.

August 3rd 2020

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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