The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Have you ever woken up and just known something bad was going to happen? No matter what you do, you can't shake that feeling? Welcome to She Dies Tomorrow.
Amy Seimetz pulls triple credit as writer, director, and producer for She Dies Tomorrow, and her clear passion and connection to the story is shown through her unique and stylistic direction. With carefully positioned cameras, unnervingly long shots without cuts, and a tangible that atmosphere created through colour and sound, Seimetz declares herself a master of the screen. Verging on the experimental as strange, abstract imagery is spliced between close ups of horrified faces, the key to the film's brilliance is in its refusal to give us anything more than the film's premise.
Amy is going to die tomorrow. She's not sure how she knows, but she knows that she knows. Like a virus, this feeling spreads through anyone who comes into contact with her, and in turn anyone they come into contact with as well. The plot is delightfully simple but clever. Inspired by Seimetz' own panic attacks and how others around her react to them, she crafts a delicious tale around the art of suggestion and paranoia. Once this wave of panic hits each character, we stay with them to see what choices they will make during this period of existential dread.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Amy, played by Kate Lyn Sheil, starts off as our protagonist. Clearly haunted by some dark thought as she roams her new sparse condo, she flits between despair and acceptance. A strong performance that always holds just enough back, Sheil's unnerving facial expressions range from vacant, ecstatic, and inconsolable in a matter of seconds, embodying the terror of impending doom. As the film's runtime progresses, it develops into an ensemble drama with the stand out being Jane Adams' character who becomes the dinner party guest of true nightmares.
Each character feels full bodied enough, despite some merely passing through our screens; they all show a full spectrum of reactions to this overwhelming and sudden expectation of death.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Welcome to 'She Dies Tomorrow'
The film is stunning thanks to the collaboration of Seimetz and cinematographer Jay Keitel. Their use of colours to signal the unstoppable fate is mesmerising, and each shot is like a portrait. Be it the use of slow motion, the imagery of lights in the desert or the spliced experimental blood shots, the film feels as beautiful as it does odd.
She Dies Tomorrow (2020) | VOD
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The soundtrack is deliciously over dramatic with Amy's preference for grand Mozart symphonies powering the film. However just when you're feeling settled into the drama of the moment, sudden and jarring switches to silence or ambient sound keep the audience alert and unnerved.
It's rare to find an arthouse film so accessible without surrendering any of its style. I was instantly mesmerized by the visuals, and as the credits rolled I found myself wanting to start back at the beginning and catch all the small touches I had missed my first watch. Not as scary as anticipated, it's a slow burning film that will leave a lingering thought in your head, just as it has in its own characters.