A haunt­ing gem about know­ing your ex­pi­ra­tion date

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - BY RICHARD ROEPER, MOVIE COLUM­NIST rroeper@sun­times.com @RichardERo­eper

Amy is going to die to­mor­row. She’s sure of it.

She doesn’t ap­pear to be sick and she’s not plan­ning on com­mit­ting sui­cide

— but Amy is ab­so­lutely, pos­i­tively, 100% sure she is do­ing to die to­mor­row.

And what­ever it is that’s af­flict­ing Amy ap­pears to be con­ta­gious.

Di­rec­tor Amy Seimetz’s haunt­ing and strik­ing and un­nerv­ing “She Dies To­mor­row” was con­ceived and filmed long be­fore COVID-19, but it’s a par­tic­u­larly dis­turb­ing and res­o­nant piece of work in these Quar­an­tine Times. As one char­ac­ter after an­other be­comes in­fected with a mys­te­ri­ous and pow­er­ful … some­thing that con­vinces them they’re going to die to­mor­row, po­lite so­ci­etal con­ven­tions give way to an al­most sur­real kind of forthright­ness; why mince words or sup­press your im­pulses when you’re con­vinced you’re going to be gone to­mor­row any­way?

Kate Lyn Sheil de­liv­ers a nom­i­na­tion-wor­thy per­for­mance as Amy, a re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic who has re­cently en­dured a ro­man­tic breakup and is spi­ral­ing into de­spair. Ine­bri­ated and des­per­ate, Amy calls her best friend Jane (Jane Adams) and tells her she’s going to die to­mor­row, but Jane is ini­tially more con­cerned with stress­ing over her brother’s birth­day party. Even­tu­ally, though, Jane comes call­ing on her friend. Later that night, Jane shows up at the home of her brother Ja­son (Chris Messina) and his wife Su­san (Katie Asel­ton), wear­ing her pa­ja­mas and look­ing dazed — and telling ev­ery­one she’s going to die to­mor­row.

Katie Asel­ton is a force as Su­san, who only wants to talk about the mat­ing habits of dol­phins and drink wine and en­joy her birth­day cake. Why does Jane al­ways have to make ev­ery­thing about her? What’s with this nar­cis­sis­tic, self-pity­ing B.S. about her dy­ing to­mor­row?

Ah, but then Ja­son is mes­mer­ized by a burst of pul­sat­ing lights em­a­nat­ing from an un­known source, and he, too, be­comes con­vinced he’s going to die to­mor­row, and a short while later Su­san has been “in­fected” as well.

And so it goes, with var­i­ous char­ac­ters fall­ing prey to the same dis­ease, or delu­sion, or hal­lu­ci­na­tion, or what­ever it is. “She Dies To­mor­row” is an ex­er­cise in con­ta­gious para­noia, with writer-di­rec­tor Seimetz wisely opt­ing not to ex­plain too much yet man­ag­ing to pro­vide enough in­for­ma­tion and plot de­vel­op­ment to some­how make all of this seem plau­si­ble.

For Amy et al., there’s some­thing si­mul­ta­ne­ously hor­ri­fy­ing and lib­er­at­ing about know­ing your life is about to end. “She Dies To­mor­row” is a well-crafted, beau­ti­fully acted, min­i­mal­ist gem for our times.

Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is con­vinced she has only one more day to live in “She Dies To­mor­row.” NEON

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