By Alex Purnell. A beautifully profound film, She Dies Tomorrow takes enormous pleasure in its solemn approach to mortality.
The anxiety which one gets before delivering an important speech is the kind of energy this slow-burning film exudes, an hour and a half thriller delving deep into mental health, its terrifyingly dark subject feels comfortably at home during today’s social and political climate.
She Dies Tomorrow is mesmerising, with its occasional psychedelic colours and obsession with Mozarts Lacrimosa, it tells the story of a contagious panic, in which everyone who comes into contact with a carrier becomes convinced that they will die tomorrow.
This bizarre but highly frightening premise is only heightened by the acting abilities of Jane Adams and Kate Lyn Sheil (playing the parts of Jane and Amy respectively). Completely and irreversibly convinced of their premature demise, their manic and depressive state seems to be ignored or shrugged off by others, playing off of today’s mental health epidemic. It’s not until hours later, those who have interacted with a ‘carrier’ also become irrationally convinced of their untimely fate. It seems She Dies Tomorrow’s release was timed frighteningly perfectly with current world events.
Going in blind to this film is initially jarring, with its arthouse infused imagery and sound coupled with its nihilistic themes it’s pretty easy to quickly dismiss. Those who fight through the first half-hour are met with its sombre and slow storytelling, but pushing past this barrier and trying to delve deep into its themes is necessary to fully enjoy the feature.
Although the dead-pan acting and the plateaued story did run thin at points, the entire piece was thoroughly enjoyable, particularly the visuals are exciting, at times being beautiful and others disturbing with its flashing lights and melancholic outlook. This is most prominent when a character who has been ‘infected’, a dizzying array of colourful strobe lights as a haunting voice speaks through what sounds like a radio device, the individual becomes distressed as they cope with their new reality.
Bringing us a story about facing our own destruction, director Amy Seimetz manages to scare us with this millennial thriller, and although at points it grows tiresome, its premise hits a certain societal nerve. A serious social critique or a black comedy? It’s difficult to defuse sometimes as it jumps around its cast of tortured characters. But at the end of it, She Dies Tomorrow radiates with style and aesthetically pleasing cinematography whilst planting a brutally real and current worldwide problem.
She Dies Tomorrow is on Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player and Digital Download 28 August
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