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She Dies Tomorrow review: A metaphor for the year 2020?

Kate Lyn Sheil as Amy in She Dies Tomorrow.
Kate Sheil in She Dies Tomorrow. Pic credit: Neon

Anxiety and depression are real struggles that can be hard to articulate. And for many in the year of our Lord 2020, the issue is rampant for a lot of us.

It’s almost unavoidable with pandemics, social media misinformation, upcoming elections, and long-term job viability for a vast amount of people — not to mention add-ons, such as Murder Hornets.

Director Amy Seimetz (who also starred in Pet Sematary) might have made She Dies Tomorrow before the coronavirus struck the globe, but its themes about anxiety are extremely timely.

That said, should you watch this psychological horror film? Will it make a list of the best horror films to watch?

Here is our full review of She Dies Tomorrow from director Amy Seimetz.

She Dies Tomorrow review: Should you watch the latest movie from Neon?

Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, the film centers around a woman named Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) who seems fixated on one specific idea: that she will die tomorrow. When we meet her, this notion has her in such a dark state that she relapsed, and her emotional state has come to complete and total apathy.

Her house is a complete mess, and she can barely even talk on the phone. Nothing about Amy seems okay.

Shortly after, she meets with Jane (Jane Adams), who tries to pull Amy out of her murky mindset. But soon, Jane starts having the same feelings — that she too will die tomorrow.

The reasons for this happening are not abundantly clear. And Seimetz has no intention of making a straight forward story. In fact, she is demanding the viewer dig deeper into an abstract narrative.

But the arthouse horror experience of She Dies Tomorrow benefits from the ambiguity. There’s a lot that can be taken away from the film because of this approach. Much like a dark philosophical poem by Emily Dickinson, the words can mean something different for each individual who reads it.

Jane Adam and Chris Messina in She Dies Tomorrow
Jane Adams and Chris Messina in She Dies Tomorrow. Pic credit: Neon

Accomplishing such a feat as a filmmaker is not easy. Most filmmakers have trouble working in the cryptic realm of storytelling. But here, Seimetz exercises this muscle with such confidence, and it shows tremendous promise for her as a director.

She also has a strong visual style, playing with psychedelic lighting and using microscopic organisms as symbolism for loneliness.

The use of sound is also extremely effective. Once the anxiety contagion takes hold of someone, the background amplifies with intense audio. It’s impressive sound design for a horror movie and used well.

The best part of She Dies Tomorrow, though, is the themes explored throughout the film. In other interviews, Seimetz conveyed the movie is meta. This fact is in the script with the character in the film, also named Amy. It makes one wonder if she has also dealt with some anxiety/depression in her own life.

But more than that is the ever-present correlation with the current world we are all stuck inside.

Simply put, nothing about the current situation around the world can be defined as “calming.” And many are already using the phrase, “the new normal” at rates that can be annoying.

Kate Sheil and Kentucker Audley in She Dies Tomorrow.
Kate Sheil and Kentucker Audley in She Dies Tomorrow. Pic credit Neon

Every day the world wakes up to a new fear. The spiking of coronavirus in various areas, the delicate state of politics, families becoming angry with each other over social-political pressures, protests and riots, police brutality, and the list goes on. And just like the contagion in She Dies Tomorrow, the anxiety feels neverending and contagious.

The film also conveys how the contagious fear makes some of the characters feel like outcasts in their own family. This gives them a sense they don’t belong and that’s a common issue for many with mental health struggles.

Depression and anxiety are not easily understood or explained to other loved ones. Especially when the depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.

This is because of social stigmas and the misunderstandings that ensue from the symptoms it causes. This cycle makes it easy for close relationships to become weakened.

Some of this is aptly conveyed through the character of Jane with her strangeness and anxious feelings triggering people in her world.

And while most of the movie might feel like Seimetz is hitting the viewers over the head with its message, it’s the most relatable horror film that speaks to how we all feel right now.

Overall Thoughts

She Dies Tomorrow is a well-crafted arthouse horror film with themes that are extremely timely.

The movie is an extremely dark and atmospheric metaphor for the anxiety we have all been facing. Moreso, it can be seen as a commentary on depression and the side effects it can cause internally as well as externally.

Amy Seimetz has a strong career ahead of her in filmmaking and She Dies Tomorrow displays her level of confidence.

But even conceptually as a horror film, this is a very cleverly made movie about fear being a contagion. And for fans of arthouse horror cinema, it’s a wild and dreadful journey that satisfies.

She Dies Tomorrow will hit select drive-ins today and release on Video-on-Demand August 7.

John Dotson is a film and television reviewer and commentator from Texas. His favorite part of what he does is getting to discuss film and... read more
John Dotson

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