“I’m going to die tomorrow.” That’s one of the first things we hear in the first time director Amy Seimetz’s (Wild Nights With Emily, Pet Sematary) new film. The story follows a cast of characters who one day come to the realization that they’re going to die tomorrow. That effect ripples across a unique cast of characters/actors and creates a film with a lot on its mind. “She Dies Tomorrow” is a film that has struck gold conceptually getting released around this time of COVID-19. The problem comes down to the fact that there’s a lot more bark than actual bite on display.
In the time of unequivocal fear for our own health, “She Dies Tomorrow” is most successful in reaching breaking points. When you have impressive character actors like Kate Lyn Sheil (You’re Next, Equals), Chris Messina (Birds of Prey) and many others, they sell the lunacy/horror of the premise. The problem here is that even with a talented ensemble, the film doesn’t have much to say about paranoia. While an argument can be made about the varying similarities between our world now, there is an unfortunate amount of situations that ring false. That certainly isn’t anything against the fantastic ensemble of character actors, but the material not being fully fleshed out.
Being written and directed by Seimetz, my biggest positive and negative with the film comes to fruition. The script by Seimetz is without a doubt an incredibly interesting hook for an audience. It’s just that with characters we really don’t get to know, there is now a form of hook for us to feel for their actions. At the same time, what is handled incredibly well is the tone throughout its 86 minute runtime. The feeling of dread and fear for what could happen never disappears in its entirety.
My biggest admiration with the film would have to be in Seimetz as a director with this rather heavy material. She understands how to connect the audience with the overwhelming dread that this cast of characters faces. Seimetz highlights this cast's faces as they see a horrifically lit neon light convincing them they’re going to die tomorrow. She knows how to use the camera as a way to strike a chord in the horror of circumstance. A particular scene involving a couple struck with this “illness” holding their daughter, strikes a cord into what Seimetz is doing. There are moments like this that really stand out in an overall frustrating experience.
There’s a lot to admire her for. From the direction, the talented ensemble and even the relevance to the world now. When it works it’s incredibly effective, it's just hard to see past a lot of wasted potential. With that being said, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I was in the director’s chair. It just feels that even with tense imagery and an eventful score, that doesn’t compensate for the lack of focus in its narrative. There’s a lot to like here, I just wish the idea was more than allegorical.
Watch the film's trailer here.