She Dies Tomorrow is a surreal and absurdist reflection and meditation on mortality. In other words, it’s basically all of us during Covid-19.
If the Covid-19 pandemic has had you feeling alone in your aching dread, rampant anxiety and thinking more about death than you normally do, congratulations, you’re human, and you’re not the only one. In fact, one might think She Dies Tomorrow was made specifically to address the existential horrors of this moment, but it’s actually just by cosmic chance that writer/director Amy Seimetz’ surreal and absurdist reflection and meditation on mortality has timed perfectly to release at the precise moment it might be most relatable.
Initially set to debut at SXSW in March but pushed out due to the pandemic, She Dies Tomorrow, which will be released on digital this week, plays like an extended, if medicated, panic attack, while managing to capture the collective sense of dread and unease and the pondering of the meaning(lessness?) of it all that is deeply reflective of our current consciousness as we careen helplessly along on the pandemic express. Or, for the more anxious types among us, how we feel on any typical weekday.
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) knows something is wrong. She knows, she just knows, that she’s going to die tomorrow. Overwhelmed by the gravity of this certainty, Amy drifts listless and ghost-like around her house, examining scraps from the life she’s pasted together for herself, thinking about the past and musing about her post-death future (Should she have her remains pressed into a leather jacket?). When Amy explains to her friend Jane (Jane Adams) that she knows she’s going to die, Jane at first thinks Amy is being paranoid. But paranoia and even death itself is contagious, it seems, because soon Jane will be on her own nightmarish journey in which she, too, knows she is going to die tomorrow.
Throughout this darkly comedic cosmic psychological horror journey, the characters try to come to terms with their fate while inadvertently infecting everyone around them with the same bleak certainty – that death is just around the corner. Along the way a few interesting characters pop up, including a doctor (Josh Lucas), a dune buggy rental guy (Adam Wingard) and Sky (Michelle Rodriguez) – a mysterious stranger who is dying too. Also in the mix are Jane’s brother Jason (Chris Messina), his self-centered wife Katie (Katie Aselton), their friends, Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) and Tilly (Jennifer Kim), and a new guy Amy’s been dating, Craig (Adams Kentucker).
As they all face their certain and imminent demise, it forces them to re-consider their relationships and their lives, and so it asks us to look at ours as well. We must all shuffle off our mortal coil at some point – what if tomorrow were that day? It’s a scary thought, but there’s power in it as well. For if we are to die, and if it were to be tomorrow, should we not live today as though it were our last?
She Dies Tomorrow is available on demand on August 7th.