Get us in your inbox

Search
A girl bathed in purple light looks upset and disturbed
Photograph: SuppliedWhat's going on in She Dies Tomorrow? Not knowing is wicked fun

She Dies Tomorrow

★★★★☆: A late but very welcome, weird and unnerving addition to this year’s digital MIFF

Written by
Stephen A Russell
Advertising

If you’re the sort of person who gets enraged by a film that keeps you guessing what the hell’s going on the whole way through then leaves you hanging anyway, look away now. If, instead, you get an electric thrill from a wholly unpredictable rollercoaster that wickedly refuses to conform, then you’re in for one hell of a treat with She Dies Tomorrow.

A horror movie regular in front of the camera (V/H/S, You’re Next), writer/director Amy Seimetz is also co-creator of gripping anthology show The Girlfriend Experience. In She Dies Tomorrow, Seimetz delivers a mesmerizingly mutated beast. It starts with mournful drama as a spangly dressed Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) appears to lose the will to live while drunkenly unpacking boxes in her newly bought home. Only there’s a bit more at play here than textbook moving day blues. When best friend Jane (Jane Adams) rocks up in intervention mode, something increasingly disturbing occurs. Suddenly Amy’s insistence that it’s her last day on Earth appears to be catching, a bit like the surreal, sexually transmitted curse of It Follows.

But comparison is violence here. What unfolds is an increasingly unnerving horror of tag-team suggestion that has echoes of a Lynchian nightmare, but is wholeheartedly its own thing. What’s going on in Jane’s basement? And has she unwittingly doomed everyone by fleeing to her snarky sister-in-law’s birthday party? Who are the romantic strangers that flit in and out of Amy’s story?

Like a broken mirror reflecting light in chaotic patterns, this is no scream-out-loud jump scarer. Instead it’s disturbingly absurd, the sort of movie that has you second-guessing your dark-hearted laughs one minute, then jumping at shadows the next.

As much as we’re psyched MIFF’s lighting up our boring lockdown eves at home, this gloriously barmy brain-frier really deserves the big screen treatment for its wildly brilliant light and sound design. Just try and catch your bearings. By the time an A-list celeb pops up for the whackiest poolside chat since Under the Silver Lake, you’ll be creeping nervously into bed wondering: ‘Am I going to wake up tomorrow?’

She Dies Tomorrow is now streaming at 2020.miff.com.au

Here's what else our critics have been watching during MIFF 2020.

Latest news

    Advertising