Review by Sean Boelman
Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow will go down as one of the buzziest acquisitions out of a festival season that never happened, and it honestly couldn’t be more fitting. A darkly hilarious look at the role of paranoia within modern society, this ambitious and experimental comedy will creep under viewers’ skin and take hold of their attention.
The film tells the story of a young woman who thinks that she is dying the next day, spreading her sense of internal dread to those she encounters in a contagious way. With this, Seimetz has created an intensely funny high-concept thriller, structuring the movie as a series of chain reactions spanning a large ensemble of characters.
The cast that Seimetz assembled for the film is absolutely phenomenal. Every actor is required a great deal of range, starting with a very emotive performance and turning into something purposefully monotonous. Higher-profile actors, such as Chris Messina, Josh Lucas, and Michelle Rodriguez are all great, but it is the lead, Kate Lyn Sheil, who steals the show.
Admittedly, the characters are all pretty archetypal, but that almost seems to be Seimetz’s goal. Still, despite the fact that every character’s arc is ultimately the same, Seimetz is able to make us care about what is happening in their story. Typical conventions of characterization are largely abandoned here in favor of something more nuanced and effective.
There is a clearly repetitive nature to the movie, but it works well. What differentiates the different vignettes is the dialogue, which offers some brilliant commentary on different issues that plague the world today. Of course, everything eventually turns back into gloom-and-doom, as does so much real conversation.
In a world in which popular opinion is structured and defined by ideas that go “viral”, it is fascinating to see a film like this present the topic in an even more metaphorical light. Of course, the movie is as timely as ever as humanity deals with a literal virus, but the main purpose of the film seems to be to draw attention to the viral trends that are slowly destroying the population.
Also impressive is that, even though the movie is mostly centered around conversations, Seimetz brings a brilliant stylistic flair to the project. Flashing multicolored lights are a common motif, and they give the film a very hypnotic quality. It’s frequently gorgeous to look at, which is all the more surprising given the dark subject matter.
She Dies Tomorrow is a bizarre movie, but it’s an absolutely mind-blowing one at that. While this is probably best described as a niche title, audiences should still give this brilliant piece of art a shot, because if it connects, it will immediately catch you in its web.
She Dies Tomorrow opens in theaters on July 31 and hits VOD on August 7.
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