Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Chris Messina, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Josh Lucas, Michelle Rodriguez, Adam Wingard, Madison Calderon
Written by: Amy Seimetz
Directed by: Amy Seimetz
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual references, drug use and bloody images
Running Time: 85
Date: 08/07/2020

She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Contagious Fortune

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer/director Amy Seimetz's poetic, terrifying movie explores an existential crisis without getting too intellectual, and instead uses dreamy sounds and visuals to yield emotion, pain, and clarity.

In She Dies Tomorrow, Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is suddenly convinced that she's going to die tomorrow. She calls her friend Jane (Jane Adams), and begins to drink, shop for urns online, and decides she wants her remains to be made into a leather jacket. Jane comes over and tries to cheer her up, and goes home. Then, Jane suddenly believes that she will die tomorrow.

She goes to see her brother, Jason (Chris Messina), who is having a birthday party for his wife, Susan (Katie Aselton). Soon, the people at the party also believe that they are going to die tomorrow. Each decides to use their remaining time to take care of some unfinished business, from taking a dangerous ride in a dune buggy to helping a loved one in the hospital to ending a sputtering relationship. But what will actually happen when tomorrow comes?

Coming close to an experimental movie, She Dies Tomorrow never explains whether the movie's catalyst — the absolute belief of characters that they are going to die tomorrow — is real, or supernatural, or anything. It's unexplained, and isn't the point. The point, of course, is that everybody (and everything) dies, but what should we do with the time we have? Some tie up loose ends, some try to be with family, and some try things they have never tried.

But even more poignant questions come up, such as what to wear, and what to leave behind. Amy puts on her fanciest, flashiest dress, while Jane wears a pair of pajamas throughout the movie. Amy visits a tanner to find out how she can be made into a coat.

Director Seimetz — who is also an actor in movies like The Sacrament and Pet Sematary — uses these touches and things like colored flashes (red, blue, and green), Jane's photographic artwork (pictures of blood under a microscope, as well as disturbingly artful blood smears), and Mozart's "Requiem" played many, many times, to conjure up an almost psychedelic feel to the movie. She Dies Tomorrow offers the idea that there are no wrong answers here, even when Amy asserts: "I'm OK. I'm not OK."

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