Review: She Dies Tomorrow

Title: She Dies Tomorrow
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Amy Seimetz
Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Ketucker Audley
Runtime: 1 hr 24 mins

What It Is: Amy (Sheil) seems to be mulling over something after moving into her new house. She’s distant, confused… upon calling her friend Jane (Adams), she goes on to explain how she knows she’s going to die in the next day and is determined to have herself be made into a leather jacket. Jane carries on to start feeling the same as Amy and migrates to her brother’s house while his wife is throwing a birthday party… and the feelings of loss and acceptance of their apparent oncoming death continues to spread.

What We Think: I happened to be a fan of Seimetz’s work, I have a lot of respect for her and the consistent goods she’s provided or been a part of. I thought Sun Don’t Shine was an intriguing profile of some very emotionally broken people… yet this doesn’t seem to be the case here. While I ultimately can see what it is she is going for, not only is the marketing claiming this film to be a “psychological thriller” inadequate, but there seems to be a lot of hype around the setup. The film never really does come full circle to me, a film in which in the stead of being labeled as what was mentioned, more so makes the call to absurdist mumblecore-esque arthouse. While I don’t necessarily need a cinematic resolution to the story and why this particular thing happens to the characters, but the valuable time that could be spent better setting up the characters and their personalities seems to be wasted on slow motion or real-time scenes of some lady seemingly going through the motions. There’s a scene where cliche baroque classical music plays on repeat for several minutes while Amy drinks and it is grating. Thirty minutes into the movie: I get it, she’s probably got a bleak outcome coming. The tone switches a bit too, from “tongue-in-cheek” melodramatic style to just… a melodramatic style. To say the least the key grips had a field day with all the flashy neon lights that were going off for no reason. It honestly wasn’t impressive to me, nor impressive-looking. All I could think about was how they set up the lights and that they were just filming in some houses for the entire movie. When the focus shifts to the other characters do the film improve in its tone and goals: simply characters stewing in the idea that they’re about to die… So what do they do? Luckily for us, Jane Adams upholds practically the rest of the film evoking a dark awkwardness yet a sense of comedy familiar to that of Todd Solondz (watch her in Happiness if you haven’t already). Had the film been much more like these certain moments that we have with Adams that are much more comedic and human in nature, I would have liked it much more–hell, that would be interesting. What we get instead is a well-shot and even well-editing yet bland if not indolent case study that seems to barely scratch the surface of what it would be like to experience things when one feels their world is about to end. It is at times redundant and drawling, overall an unsurprising stretch and less of an experience than most films similar in nature, such as Tapeworm.

Our Grade: D, Honestly I have no reason to give this a passing grade. I don’t hate it, I think the concept is strong, but for what this film had to prove, it could have easily been more impactful as a short film. It feels almost unfinished, like they ran out of story to tell or just weren’t reaching hard enough in this flat attempt at dreamy, sometimes absurdist existentialism. I suppose you could watch the trailer and have more of a viewing experience that way, as the massive potential this film harbors is only evident within its deceptive marketing.

Author: Chai Simone