2020 Film Essays

‘She Dies Tomorrow’: Fear, Death and the Almighty Wrath of Mozart

She Dies Tomorrow Movie Film

“As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence…” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Stories about the dying and the dead usually provide a visible and instant display of their meaning, but that’s not the case with Amy Seimetz’s epic portrait of mortal doom, She Dies Tomorrow. Told through a dark and dramatic lens, the film is a haunting tale that slowly creates visceral thrills through its obscene enactment of fear, death and life. Seimetz follows the experiences of new home-owner Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil), who believes that her death is imminent; a thought that spreads like a contagion around a sane town.

Set in a world of mundaneness that quickly moves to heightened, subjective realities, She Dies Tomorrow is a film that feels uncomfortably timely despite it being shot before the COVID-19 pandemic. Flowing with hyper-colours and rich neon tones, Seimetz’s thriller perfectly captures the feeling of dying through flashing kaleidoscopic hues and hard-to-hear mumbles. Frightening and bold, the apocalyptic chiller also draws a fine line between its disturbing images and subtle comedy, and immerses through each scene a delicate and inventive aspect amongst its vivid themes. However, with abrupt cuts and sharp editing, She Dies Tomorrow becomes especially impactful through its unflinching and commanding set of music. Featuring a score by the Mondo Boys, the dark and dramatic picture voices its meaning through a deeply emotional and complex version of Mozart’s “Requiem in D minor, K. 626.”

She Dies Tomorrow Movie Film

Building on the town’s fanatical thoughts through Mozart’s forceful melody adds an unusual depth and element of beauty to the picture’s unique insanity. Awakening into a tale that is much more evocative and powerful, She Dies Tomorrow quickly amends to something rather fascinating when the mournful Lacrimosa weeps out throughout each striking scene. As Amy intricately swings to the Requiem aeternam, the bellow of the gravely solemn and transcendent piece emerges as the highlight of the film, as it’s as melancholic and infectious as the story itself.  Composed and left incomplete by Mozart on his deathbed in 1791, “Requiem in D minor, K. 626” feels very much in sync with Seimetz’s dark drama and evokes the tale into something much more ominous and ghastly.

Often used in form of a parody or to suggest the macabre, the impressive plainsong melody of “Requiem in D minor, K. 626” also builds on the film’s subtle satirical commentary. It plays beautifully throughout the story as a hypnotic musical tool, and the riveting ballad also becomes quite contagious when coupled with Seimetz’s original and sorrowful look on humankind. Through a graceful use of Mozart’s music, She Dies Tomorrow urges the audience to question their lives and unavoidable deaths.

She Dies Tomorrow Movie Film

She Dies Tomorrow makes the audience empathize with Seimetz’s characters, and suggests that a similar situation could happen in real life. The paranormal and deeply emotional wrath that builds from Mozart’s notes is as contagious as the story it inspired; a film that reminds viewers that we’re all going to die, and that it could be sooner than we expected.

Keli Williams (@kelionfilm) is a freelance film journalist based in Liverpool. She has bylines at Little White Lies, Girls on Tops, Zavvi and Film Stories Magazine.