Monday, 31 August 2020

SHE DIES TOMORROW review

 

The latest film from Amy Seimetz (Sun Don’t Shine as director, the remake of Pet Sematary and Alien: Covenant as an actor), sees her behind the camera to deliver a bizarre story about a group of Los Angelinos who through mysterious reasons come to the realisation that they will die tomorrow.

Kate Lynn Sheil stars as Amy, a recovering addict who is the first know she is going to die the next day. Her friend Jane (played by indie stalwart Jane Adams) thinks Amy’s oddly calm demeanour is a sign that she’s relapsed, until she also is struck with the realisation of her own impending demise. Quite how they have landed at this idea is not due to any message they hear, or a Grim Reaper giving advanced notice, but comes in the form of a simple, rational acceptance.

This film has the potential to enlighten, confound, and maybe even annoy its audience; so obtuse it is in delivering its basic idea. It feeds into the palpable sense of anxiety many are feeling right now, and is one of a number of films being released that, although it couldn’t have predicted the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing introspection a lot of people have put upon themselves, it taps into many fears of our own mortality in a manner that is incredibly timely.

Faced with her own imminent death, Amy doesn’t go on a Purge style rampage or even attempt to reckon with her own existence and deal with unfinished business. Instead she’s overcome with a curious sense of acceptance, her biggest consideration towards her legacy being her hope to be turned into a leather jacket, something she chooses to spend her final hours researching. As this acceptance of death spreads to Jane and then onto others they are in contact with, there’s a calmness they’re swept up in, visualised on screen as a wave of blue and red lights that bathe the faces of the actors as they stare down the barrel of the camera lens, as if they are about to transcend from their world and into ours.

They’re not the easiest bunch of characters to bond with, the most memorable being Katie Aselton as Jane’s obnoxious sister-in-law Susan, talking about dolphin rape over after-dinner drinks with bemused friends. When Jane arrives at the party with her newfound mortality check, the pervasive nature passes onto the rest of the group and turns them into equally docile and accepting people. 

It’s a slow journey that makes the night seem to last longer, but this measured approach never seems accidental. The pace of Seimetz’s film and the visual language on screen reminds of the films of David Lynch, in particular Eraserhead (but nowhere near as bizarre as that). The concept of fatalism will intrigue, and there are clear correlations to the paranoia and anxiety of life mid-pandemic, but despite an arresting visual flair and some solid performances (including a low-key but scene-stealing turn from TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and brief appearances from high profile stars Josh Lucas and Michelle Rodriguez doing bit player roles), this will enrage as many viewers as it enthralls.

Verdict

3/5




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