“She Dies Tomorrow” is an experimental-style film that can be summed up in just four words: high concept, poor execution. This low budget mind-bender is comprised of a series of abstract visuals and intentionally obtuse storytelling that feels structured to a fault. Everything is so carefully planned out and outlined to the point that it comes across like a glorified student film rather than a contemplative exercise in existential anxiety.
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is convinced that she is going to die tomorrow. Knowing that her life is now pointless, she mopes around the house with a glass a wine and listens to Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” on repeat. She tells everyone that she is going to die, but her certainty that she will soon meet her end spreads like a contagion throughout her town. Interacting with others means they will be convinced they’ll be kicking the bucket sometime after midnight. Pretty soon, those in her circle (Jane Adams, Chris Messina, Katie Aselton) are all wandering like zombies through the final day of their lives.
It’s a great idea for a film, in an apocalyptic, avant-garde sort of way. And that’s the problem with Writer / director Amy Seimetz‘s final product: it’s trying too hard to be too abstract, and feels like a monotonous fan homage to David Lynch rather than a thoughtful experimental film. The cinematography (by Jay Keitel) is interesting, but there isn’t much going on aside from the creepy and unsettling visuals. The startling cuts and blaring music cues add further unpleasantness for the viewer. The characters are irritating, flimsy, and lifeless, and the dialogue (especially a long dinner party scene where a character drones on and on about the sex lives of dolphins) plays like pointless, on-the-fly mumblecore. The setup is very slow and despite glimpses of foreshadowing, the eventual ending is disappointing.
“She Dies Tomorrow” is not a film that I would call an enjoyable experience to watch. It’s just another artsy exercise in pretentious paranoia.