MOVIE REVIEW: SHE DIES TOMORROW is a timely dark comedy where a contagious sense of impending death is an unstoppable pandemic


Writer/director Amy Seimetz strikes a timely note in this time of pandemic with this tale of contagious existential ennui.

Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is going to die tomorrow. She just feels it. It’s in her bones. Nothing matters cuz there won’t be a day after tomorrow. She spends the night browsing the internet looking for inexpensively priced urns for her ashes, before deciding that she wants to be tanned and dried to be made into a leather jacket because she wants her death to be useful. Because, of course, she dies tomorrow.

Such is the central premise of writer/director Amy Seimetz’ latest film, SHE DIES TOMORROW, which releases on July 31st. Shiel, who also starred in Seimetz’s STARZ adaptation of Steven Soderberg’s THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, plays a captivating lead in Amy, who we follow intermittently throughout the film as we learn how she contracted this contagious conviction of her demise. But we also follow her as she spreads this fear, which manifests itself through as a moment of realization accompanied by a brilliant flashing of colored lights alongside a rendition of Mozart’s Requiem as interpreted by the film’s score composers Mondo Boys. The film then contact traces how Amy’s dread infects her friend Jane (Jane Addams), whose paranoia leads her to the ex-husband Jason (Chris Messina) as he is throwing a birthday party for his new wife Susan (Legion’s Katie Aselton). Jane’s cloud of doom infects everyone at the party, leading to tragic and darkly comic results for all involved as we follow them after the sad soiree. Meanwhile, we follow the last day Amy had before she realized she was going to die, full of dune buggy riding and delivery pizza, as she looks for the best place for death to take her.

Seimetz’s film is an interesting genre exercise given the current time period the film finds itself being distributed in the wake of Covid-19. The sense of dread that spreads so easily can be clearly contrasted with how easily the Coronavirus spreads and the darkly comic nature of how the fear of death infects those can be seen as somewhat allegorical to the different ways people respond to the threat of a dangerously contagious illness. Some see it as a joke, others find themselves paralyzed with the sense it is all over should they catch it. Largely, Seimetz’s film follows the sort of blueprint of post-mumblecore/mumblegore films. The plot is light, but really it is a character study of how this idea manifests itself in the minds of the different people who it has touched. Some find freedom in the sense of impending death; they end relationships that are doomed, while others cling to their loved ones and bemoan that their children won’t be spared. But, in the end, it is just a sense of doom that infects you, and people are often guided by self-interest, so they assume this sense is true without taking steps to stop it. Fatalism can be its own destructive energy and we see how that can play out here. Its ultimately Sheil’s strong performance that keeps you watching, with light genre shades to films like Videodrome.

SHE DIES TOMORROW may not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in seeing ideas explored on-screen and improvisational-feeling studies in the human condition and the work of filmmakers like Shane Carruth, Joe Swanberg, and the Duplass brothers, then this film may have you wondering if you died tomorrow how would you handle that fact.