The story begins with Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil), once a joyful young woman looking forward to setting up her newly purchased home. But now it’s a job that comes with no joy as Amy is gripped with deep, soul-shredding anxiety. For some reason she is convinced she will die the next day. Not by suicide or illness, just death. “There is no tomorrow for me,” she says. She’s so convinced of her inevitable fate she changes her voicemail message. “There’s no need to leave a message.”
Seeking a connection, she invites her friend Jane (Jane Adams) over. Jane swings by and after some awkward conversation about death leaves, also consumed by thoughts of her own, impending passing. As Jane moves through the night, visiting a doctor (Josh Lucas), her brother (Chris Messina) and friends (Olivia Taylor Dudley and Michelle Rodriguez) she leaves an existential trail of fear with everyone she meets.
Directed by Amy Seimetz “She Dies Tomorrow” is not a regular horror film. It’s an experiment in atmosphere building aided by a premise that feels very timely in the midst of a pandemic.
Questions are asked—What is this virus and how is it transported?—but no answers are provided. The film requires you to accept the situation and feel the anxiety of something that may or may not be real. For Seimetz’s characters the dread is palpable, forcing them to examine their choices, in relationships and life, and re-evaluate in whatever time they have left. In this time of real-life uncertainty Seimetz paints a vivid picture of mortality on a countdown that, while speculative, feels rooted in recent headlines.
Fittingly “She Dies Tomorrow” has a hallucinogenic, experimental style. Throbbing, flashing swaths of colour fill the screen as the virus—or whatever it is—attaches itself to a new host. It’s trippy, slightly psychedelic and may test the patience of less adventurous viewers but in a time where COVID-19 has spread worldwide, bringing with it angst and unease, a movie that examines human behavior in the face of transmittable trauma is, perhaps, a nightmarish artistic inevitability.