‘She Dies Tomorrow’ and we’re creeped out

MOVIE REVIEW

“SHE DIES TOMORROW”

Rated R. At drive-ins and on Apple TV+, Amazon, iTunes, Spectrum and other streaming platforms Aug. 7

Grade: B-

What if you were going to die tomorrow?

Tragically, it’s a genuine concern for people who should not be tortured by such thoughts at this point in their lives, and this is what lends “She Dies Tomorrow,” the latest no-budget indie film from writer-director Amy Seimetz, such startling urgency.

The action begins to say the least in medias res. We see a tear-filling eyeball belonging to, yes, Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil of Seimetz’s feature debut “Sun Don’t Shine”) and hear in a voice-over the words she speaks: “It’s over,” and “I’m not crazy.” Amy, a relapsed alcoholic, hears voices, sees flashing lights and plays Mozart’s Requiem over and over to hammer her point home to her and us.

The upholstery on her furniture is enough to kill my buzz for sure. We know Amy’s name because she gets a phone call from her friend Jane (Jane Adams). Seimetz isn’t very fond of such niceties as introducing some of the other characters to us. Jane goes to Amy’s ironically new house to check on her and assure her she isn’t going to die. Amy wakes up from blackouts the way Leonardo DiCaprio does in “Shutter Island,” rising up with a sudden, sucking gasp. She has changed into her best dress and wants to be turned into a leather jacket. Yes, it sounds crazy.

But when Jane goes home and starts peering into her microscope in her basement and talking to the microbes she sees, she, too, hears voices, sees flashing lights and becomes convinced she is going to die on the next day.

  • Jane Adams & Josh Lucas in ‘She Dies Tomorow’ by Amy Seimetz

  • Kate Lyn Sheil & Kentucker Audley in ‘She Dies Tomorrow’ by Amy Seimetz

Whatever this thing is, it’s contagious. Jane, who will quote Albert Camus, goes to an emergency room, where she infects her doctor (Josh Lucas). In her pajamas, Jane then arrives at the apartment of her brother Jason (Chris Messina). He and wife Susan (Katie Aselton), who talks about the outrageous sexual habits of dolphins, are entertaining their friends Brian (Tunde Adebimpe) and Tilly (Jennifer Kim). Ms. “I am going to die tomorrow” Jane is both the ultimate wet blanket and a kind of existential answer to the question “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

And so it goes on, and even at a sparse 88-minutes I must say I found the one-note nature of the film’s “twist” wearisome, however urgent and relevant it is.

In a notably offbeat scene, Jane swims in a stranger’s pool, trailing a cloud of blood from a slashed wrist. She is her own chum.

One of the strangers is played by Michelle Rodriguez of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Two hundred films like “She Dies Tomorrow” could be made for the cost of one “Fast and Furious” sequel.

In a flashback, Amy spends time at a vacation house with a guy named Craig (Kentucker Audley). He may be “patient zero.”

One fellow critic, who found the film “hilarious,” compared “She Dies Tomorrow” to the work of David Cronenberg and Luis Bunuel. The comparisons are valid, but a definite stretch.

Near the end, Amy visits a leather worker’s shop. We’re not sure where the shop is because Seimetz has not filmed a single establishing shot. The creepy, grizzled leather worker assures Amy that he can create a pelt as long as the dead creature is brought to him “still warm.”

At the end, Amy repeats a COVID mantra, “I’m OK.” “I’m not OK.” Me, too.

(“She Dies Tomorrow” contains violence, bloody images, profanity and drug use.)

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