Empire (UK) - - ON SCREEN -


NOW 15 84 MINS

Amy Seimetz

Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Josh Lu­cas, Chris Messina

When re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic Amy (Sheil) pro­claims she will die the fol­low­ing day, her friend Jane (Adams) brushes it off. But when Jane begins to feel the same cer­tainty about her im­pend­ing demise, it be­comes clear this para­noia is catch­ing. As it spreads, the knowl­edge causes peo­ple to re­act in very dif­fer­ent ways.

PLAY­ING OUT LIKE both a frac­tured fever­dream and sharp satire about the cat­a­strophic times which we all find our­selves nav­i­gat­ing, She Dies To­mor­row is a film which gets un­der your skin in its open­ing mo­ments and stays there un­til long af­ter the fi­nal reel. This is fear­less film­mak­ing from writer/di­rec­tor Amy Seimetz who, in re­turn­ing to the apoc­a­lyp­tic yet in­ti­mate ter­ri­tory ex­plored in her 2012 de­but Sun Don’t Shine, again demon­strates that not only does she possess a unique nar­ra­tive vi­sion, but that she can ex­e­cute it in truly orig­i­nal style.

Her pro­tag­o­nist, also called Amy (a haunt­ing Kate Lyn Sheil), is a re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic, who seems un­moored from her own life. As she tells her friend Jane (Jane Adams, bril­liant), Amy is ut­terly con­vinced she will die the fol­low­ing day; a sug­ges­tion that Jane shrugs off as a re­lapse un­til she her­self be­comes con­sumed by the same fear. As time pro­gresses, it be­comes clear that this is para­noia as dis­ease; any­one they meet, whether fam­ily, friends or strangers, be­comes over­whelmed by the un­shake­able be­lief that they will meet their end within 24 hours.

Seimetz’s tight screen­play is un­con­cerned with the de­tails of this bizarre phe­nom­e­non — mass delu­sion or group pre­mo­ni­tion, it’s never ex­plained — but rather the psy­cho­log­i­cal toll that such knowl­edge brings. We see Amy wan­der­ing through her half-empty home, the city streets, plagued by flash­backs to a failed re­la­tion­ship which serve as clues to the fate that has be­fallen her, and a por­trait of a woman des­per­ately try­ing to come to terms with her past, as well as her lim­ited fu­ture. “I’m okay,” is her mourn­ful re­frain. Else­where, scientist Jane — whose swirling mi­cro­scope slides of blood are em­blem­atic of the film’s vis­ceral beauty — looks for an­swers and emo­tional con­nec­tion, first with her brother (Chris Messina) and then, hi­lar­i­ously and trag­i­cally, with an ER doc­tor (Josh Lu­cas) who is at first be­mused and then over­come with grief at his own im­pend­ing demise.

As each char­ac­ter stares into the void that now yawns in front of them, un­able to look away, the film takes on a new face. Re­al­ity fades away as strobes of red and green fill the screen, puls­ing mu­sic (by Mondo Boys) in­ten­si­fies, and ev­ery­thing moves in su­per­slow mo­tion. It’s eerie and hyp­notic, un­til, sud­denly, a jolt­ing cut plunges us back into the mun­dane; car horns blast, air­planes roar, life moves on.

Im­mer­sive work forces the au­di­ence into Amy’s headspace, mak­ing us con­front our own mor­tal­ity and, in stark con­trast to most sur­vival hor­rors, ac­cept that we can­not fight against or out­run it. And while the film was made be­fore the global pan­demic took hold, its ex­plo­ration of in­fec­tion and death, and de­pres­sion and iso­la­tion, cer­tainly hits a dev­as­tat­ingly raw nerve. NIKKI BAUGHAN 18 99 MINS

Die an­other day: Kate Lyn Sheil plays a woman who’s con­vinced her death is im­mi­nent.

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