Review: She Dies Tomorrow

MiYear: 2020
Runtime: 84 Minutes
Director/Writer: Amy Seimetz
Stars: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley

By Mique Watson

What would you do if  I told you that today was your last day on this planet? Would your galvanized restlessness motivate you to spend every waking moment with the most accessible loved one? Would you, in a state of fear, find the closest possible place to go skydiving? Would you suddenly become religious and confess all your sins to a priest–or would you do the alternative and regurgitate every mistake you’ve ever made with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand?

Amy Seitmtz explores this idea and executes it with what seems to be an ode to later works of Godard. Except this isn’t even that; it’s a series of images that looks like something Godard would’ve done. It only has any real impact because of the global context that’s been foisted upon us all. It’s a melange of scenes depicting boring (mostly white) people sulking and doing nothing even remotely interesting. This film–which is barely 85 minutes long–is a gruelling, contemplative, exercise in hollow reflection with absolutely nothing riveting to say. 

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Kate Sheil & Kentucker Audley in She Dies Tomorrow by Amy Seimetz

“Who would want to be reminded about the current state of the world? Why should this experimental assortment of depressing images be that reminder?”

The horror genre has long dealt with the concept of collective fear–be it by the hands of aliens, zombies, or tornadoes with sharks in them. Here, Amy Seimetz seems to have a take on the subject of our collective fear of death (one of the film’s protagonists–the one we’re introduced to first–is named Amy, she’s played by Kaye Lyn Sheil). Her tale is one that feels personal and subjective to her; luckily for her, this tale carries an added resonance in our current context.

This is barely a film–it’s a half-baked idea: all icing and no cake. Too much icing makes for a rather sickening experience; and watching this film is one where the temptation to fast-forward is strong. We follow a woman named Amy, a hollow husk of a person, listlessly wandering around her one-storey bungalow with her gaze perpetually locked into the abyss she aimlessly stares into. For unexplained reasons, random strobe lights appear, and she winds up convinced that she will die the following day.

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Katie Aselton in She Dies Tomorrow by Amy Seimetz

“This film–which is barely 85 minutes long–is a gruelling, contemplative, exercise in hollow reflection with absolutely nothing riveting to say.”

We see her interact with an eccentric friend, Jane (played by Jane Adams) who, soon after, contracts this supposedly contagious fear–rinse, repeat. Sooner or later, everyone onscreen is scared–a microcosm, I suppose, for what is happening around the world today. When you’re forced–by social media, the news, etc.–to think about the fact that stuff is actually happening in the world today, a question arises: Who would want to be reminded about the current state of the world? Why should this experimental assortment of depressing images be that reminder? As far as storytelling goes–this tale is virtually inaccessible. 

She Dies is yet another cinematic equivalent of a Rorschach test; watching this film is like being sat down, forced to look at images for long periods of time, and asked “how does this make you feel”? I suppose, since we’re all sad at the moment, this film thinks it can get away with capitalising on our current miserable state? Well this poignancy it desperately strives for isn’t storytelling, it’s a cheap and lazy trick.

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Kate Sheil in She Dies Tomorrow by Amy Seimetz

In the end, life is short and everyone’s going to die. Fabulous.

0 stars

Blue Finch Film Releasing presents She Dies Tomorrow on Curzon Home Cinema and Digital Download 28 August

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