Review: ‘She Dies Tomorrow’ is Quirky Existential Horror at its Best
Any film that uses Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem has my heart, so She Dies Tomorrow started on a high note for me. Mozart wrote his Requiem from his deathbed, and he actually died in the process of writing the Lacrimosa movement; it’s a pitch-perfect piece for a film focused on the acceptance of death.
In She Dies Tomorrow, Amy (Kate Lyn Shiel, The Sacrament) is convinced that she’s going to die tomorrow, and it’s contagious. It’s not a question of thinking she’s going to die, it’s knowing. She’s being forced with the finality of her own mortality. So what would you do with your last night?
With that in mind, the costume choices are very telling. Amy opts for a chic sequin dress, choosing to go out in style. It says a lot about the acceptance of her looming death; she’s not questioning it, she’s not fighting it, she’s just going to let it happen. If you have a sequin dress, when’s a better time to wear it?
Sheil is excellent as Amy; she has a stoic vulnerability as she comes to terms with the inevitability of her death. Everyone who comes to this conclusion reacts differently, moving through the stages of grief with different levels of intensity. Micro expressions and reactions carry so much weight. They communicate the stage at which they’re confronting their own impermanence.
The supporting cast is just as impressive, particularly Jane Adams (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) as Jane. Jane flurries from place to place, caught in a tizzy of anxiety about her own impending death. She’s shaken to her core and searching for answers, for meaning, for a connection… anything, really. If Amy’s sequin dress speaks to her acceptance, Jane’s run-out-of-the-house outfit of floral flannel pajamas is just as revealing.
Writer/Director Amy Seimetz (perhaps better known from her roles in Pet Sematary, Upstream Color and You’re Next) knows her way around a genre film. Her vision is stunning, with beautiful slow-motion moments that act as a kind of character vigil. Moments that grab your attention and cradle it gently, followed by sobering pace switches that snap you back to reality.
The use of color is impeccable. When Amy (and company) come face-to-face with the undisputed fact of their death, a kaleidoscopic wave of neon washes over them. Staring directly into the camera, we see the moment they come to terms with their fate. It’s gripping and gorgeous.
She Dies Tomorrow is a somber yet quirky meditation on our own mortality. It’s dripping with existential dread and rich with affirmations of our own anxieties. Each character is faced with the reality of their own existence and what exactly that means — for those that live, we all must die. But it’s the ambiguity of this death that’s perhaps the most challenging element of the film.
The film has a slow burn that dies out (pardon the pun) on its own. If you’re looking for a final violent confrontation or even some sort of concrete explanation or ending, you might want to adjust your expectations. She Dies Tomorrow ends not with a bang, but with a small, scared whisper.
It feels like a very personal film (perhaps because the main character shares the name of the writer/director, and the film itself stars many of her personal friends — including a fun little cameo from You’re Next director Adam Wingard). You get the sense that this rather hefty theme is something that she’s mulled over quite a bit. And I don’t think she’s alone in that; one of the reasons that She Dies Tomorrow is so successful is that death is an unavoidable eventuality.
We’ve all thought about it some time or another — what would you do if you found out you have one week to live, we so often ask — and the idea of being faced with such an immediate end is enough to make anyone uneasy. To keep it manageable, Seimetz pops in some quick jolts of humor — like a tonal defibrillator — to keep the film from getting too bogged down by its own weight.
With a rather large and completely universal theme matched with Jay Keitel’s impeccable cinematography and Seimetz’s deft directorial hand, She Dies Tomorrow is a moody, quirky, thought-provoking, and beautiful film. If you’re looking for something a little different, give it a try. It wouldn’t kill you.
America’s Most Haunted House Isn’t in Amityville
There is a haunted house in Bridgeport, Connecticut that doesn’t get the attention the one in Amityville does, but in 1974 it caused a media stir that captivated the country, and nobody ever talks about it, not even genre movie folks.
By the end of this story, you–like the many witnesses in 1974–will wonder what’s real and what isn’t.
What did happened inside this tiny house in the middle of the block on Lindley Street?
Before we get to that, let’s talk about the recent upswing in ghost story cinema and celebrity paranormal investigations, starting with James Wan’s Conjuring universe (a fourth film is currently in the works).
The Conjuring franchise has given us some great scares over the last decade. These “based-on-a-true-story” earmarks on haunted America, and across the pond, have re-invigorated the poltergeist pop culture phenomena that was so popular in the 70s.
Based on the real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring cinematic universe started with the Perron family in Rhode Island.
Although Mr. Warren died in 2006, Lorraine served as a consultant to The Conjuring. She maintained before her death in 2019 that she didn’t allow the filmmakers to take too much creative license. She asserted everything you see on screen is actually how it happened.
The sequel, Conjuring 2 moved to Britain and documented the famous Enfield haunting. That case involved two young sisters who were tormented by a ghost that threw things, spoke by way of possession and was just an overall supernatural baddie. Cops, priests and social workers went on record to confirm the reports. Lorraine also helped with that case.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Lutz family was battling their own demons on a now-famous lot in Amityville. Again, the Warrens were on hand to assist.
966 Lindley Street
But there is another chilling tale that the Warrens were involved in that nobody talks about. It took place in Bridgeport at 966 Lindley Street in 1974 and it caused such a media circus the neighborhood would go on lock-down.
Reporters, witnesses, and other professionals would go on record saying they saw furniture move without provocation, hovering refrigerators, and physical attacks.
In the book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” writer Bill Hall takes a deep-dive into this case. What’s staggering is not only the bizarre happenings that took place, but they were so well documented by so many trusted sources.
Respected Witnesses Document Their Experiences
Firefighters and law enforcement agents have gone on record to say they witnessed everything from chairs moving on their own, crucifixes being ejected from their wall anchors, and knives being thrown by an invisible force. The activity seemed to center around a little girl.
Gerard and Laura Goodin lived in the small bungalow when they adopted their young daughter Marcia in 1968. It wasn’t long before strange things began to happen in the house–little things that people usually ignore. Still, the activity was strong enough to captivate the family.
People said when Marcia was around the events would intensify but even when she was gone things could get crazy.
The Goodin’s were subject to a loud rhythmic pounding in their walls, the source could never be located. Items would disappear from where they were left, only to be found in another spot in the house. Doors would slam. Police investigated the incidents but even they were perplexed after finding nothing.
The Media Frenzy
In 1974 the property was a hotbed of activity not only from the poltergeist but media attention. The Warrens were called in as was the American Society for Psychical Research and the Psychical Research Foundation.
Police were on hand 24 hours a day and interviewed the family. At that time there were reports of TVs being pushed from their stands, window blinds snapping up and down and shelves falling off the walls.
The public frenzy had started too. Onlookers would crowd the street in front of the haunted house to see if they could witness something for themselves. One citizen even tried to burn the house down. The entire street had to eventually be cordoned off.
At this time the entity reportedly showed itself. According to Hall’s book, it “resembled a large, cohesive assemblage of smoky yellowish-white ‘gauzy’ mist.”
The Cat Talks
Not only were there physical manipulations there were also audio phenomena. People reported hearing Sam the family cat say weird things like “Jingle Bells,” and “Bye Bye.” Outside plastic garden swans reportedly made frightening noises too.
The website Damned Connecticut also wrote about this story. In their comments section one person, Nelson P., claims to have worked in City Hall in 1974 in the records room of the Bridgepoint Police Department. They had this to say:
“…we gained a copy of a written report by an officer who was present when the paranormal s*it hit the fan on Lindley St. The most chilling account was when in his writing ‘and the cat said to the officer “How’s your brother Bill doing?, and the officer looked down and replied “My brother’s dead.” The cat then scowled “I know” swearing repeatedly at the officer then ran off. Other visual events in the report include a levitating refrigerator and an armchair that flipped over and could not be lifted back into place by the officers. One officer who witnessed it all took an immediate leave of absence having been that shaken by the experience. I today firmly believe these events took place in the home.”
Levitating Frigidaires and creepy cats aside, the whole thing came to an abrupt halt when a police officer allegedly saw Marcia try to tip over a television set with her foot when she thought no one was looking.
After questioning, Marcia eventually admitted to doing everything in the house on her own and the case was closed; deemed a hoax. Or was it?
Although her parents disputed the claim, Marcia was quick to admit her part in the “haunting.” But questions remained about how she could be in two places at once.
How respected witnesses saw things happen when Marcia wasn’t even in the house and why things continued to happen even after her confession.
The case was eventually forgotten and regarded as fraud.
Bill Hall’s book “The World’s Most Haunted House,” is the quintessential story about the Lindley haunting. His book includes unprecedented interviews from firefighters and other reputable witnesses who were there. They speak about their experiences and what they saw.
It’s been reported that Marcia, the girl behind the haunting, died in 2015 at the age of 51.
The house still stands in the same spot it did over 40 years ago and looks the same as it did back then. You can visit it personally. You can also type it into Google Maps.
But instead of bothering the current residents keep a safe distance away if you decide to go.
Whatever you believe, this haunted house case was definitely one for the history books if only for the attention it got from the public and the details professional eyewitnesses documented as it happened.
This story has been updated. It was originally posted in March 2020.
Paranormal Games: Red Door, Yellow Door
Let’s play a game: Red Door, Yellow Door
Also Known As Doors Of The Mind
Spooky games that border on the paranormal are a mainstay at slumber parties around the world. From light as a feather, stiff as a board… Doors of the Mind
to the classic Ouija board, we’ve all played at least one, but there are others out there, perhaps less well known, and one of the spookiest is Red Door, Yellow Door. Doors of the Mind
What is Red Door Yellow Door?
Sometimes this paranormal game is called Doors of the Mind or Black Door, White Door, and well, any other combination of colors, you can think of.
Red Door, Yellow Door takes two to play. However, it’s perfect for a late-night audience of scared teens, so it’s no surprise that it’s made a resurgence in recent years.
The Game Rules
The rules are simple, but the outcome could be dire, or so the urban legends claim.
One player is the guide, and the other is the subject.
- The guide sits on the floor, cross-legged with a pillow in their lap.
- The subject will then lie on the ground with their head in the guide’s lap and their hands raised in the air.
- The guide should, at this point, begin to massage the subject’s temples in a circular motion chanting, “Red Door, Yellow Door, any other color door” over and over again, joined by any witnesses to the game. Doors of the Mind
- As the subject slips into the trance, they will find themselves in a room in their mind and at that point, they should lower their arms to the floor signaling the guide and any witnesses to stop chanting.
The game has officially begun.
At this point, the person acting as the guide will begin to ask questions to the subject in order to get them to describe the room.
Any witnesses should be silent so that there is no sound except for the voice of the guide and the voice of the subject answering the guide’s question.
The instructor might ask what colors the doors to the room are, how they feel about the doors, and instruct them to go through varying doors into other rooms.
The subject is encouraged to answer all questions honestly until the guide decides to end the game, but there are some warnings and signs of danger to keep in mind.
Dangers To Keep In Mind Doors of the Mind
According to Scary for Kids:
- If you encounter people in the room, it may be best not to interact with them. They may be evil and try to trick you.
- If you find yourself in a room full of clocks, leave immediately. Clocks can trap you.
- You can go wherever you want, but it is safer to go up than down.
- Light things and light colors tend to be better than dark things and dark colors.
- If you should find yourself trapped in a room, you must try to wake up. If you don’t, you might be trapped forever.
- If you die in the game, you will supposedly die in real life.
- If you encounter a man in a suit who makes you uncomfortable, end the game immediately.
- If the guide is having a hard time waking the subject from the trance, they should shake them roughly to bring them into wakefulness.
Sounds creepy, right?!
The whole point of the Red Door, Yellow Door, seemingly, is to explore the inner workings of your own mind and to also understand that there are also dark sides to everyone.
Some of the things you might encounter inside the game may be those very things about yourself that you don’t wish to face.
Have you ever played Red Door, Yellow Door or any variation of this spooky game? Let us know in the comments!
This article has been updated. it was originally posted in February 2020.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Rumored to Appear as a Ghost in ‘Beetlejuice 2’
During The Hot Mic Podcast, the crew spoke about Jenna Ortega in talks to play Lydia’s daughter. Well, it turns out that the guys on Hot Mic also heard that an aging action star is set to play a ghost in the sequel as well. Over on Arrow in the Head, the direction of the aging action star immediately took the shape of Jean-Claude Van Damme. However, there are options out there that may point to other action stars like Sylvester Stallone. To be honest we would be totally fine with either of these guys coming to the world of Beetlejuice and playing a ghost.
The synopsis for Beetlejuice went like this:
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
We can’t wait to find out if this bit of info is true. So far, we know that Jenna Ortega has been in talks to play Lydia’s daughter in the Tim Burton directd sequel. It will also see a return of Michael Keaton.
We will be sure to keep you updated on future Beetlejuice sequel updates.