Poor Jessica, she just got released from a four month stay at a mental institution and she ain’t feeling so great. I guess riding around in a hearse and making crafty tombstone rubbings on tissue paper isn’t as therapeutic as you’d think. ZOHRA LAMPERT not to be confused with TYNE DALY stars as the twitchy title character in this spooky and subtle sleeper. She along with her long-suffering husband BARTON HAEYMAN from THE EXORCIST have just escaped the chaos of New York and bought a beautiful house in the New England countryside. They’ve even brought along a bug eyed walrus-faced pal named Woody to help with the apple orchard. Yes, all Jessica needs is a little fresh air and some peace and quiet and maybe she’ll stop having those nasty audio and visual hallucinations. When they arrive at what is referred to ominously as, “The old Bishop place” they find an ethereal red headed squatter named Emily. You can tell this film takes place in the seventies because instead of shooting her in the face and calling the cops, they invite her to stick around, drink some wine and play MELANIE type songs on her guitar. Inevitably hubby and hottie hippy chick share horny glances and Jessica begins her nosedive into full blown madness. You’ll be right there with her because the most impressive thing about this movie is that it locks you into it’s unreliable narrator’s head and it does not let you go. There’s a near constant clammer of subtle and not so subtle sounds, creakings, moanings, whispering voices, some are Jessica’s “Don’t tell them, they won’t believe you!” and some are not, “I’m in your blood!” There’s also an overwhelming sense of internal isolation that brings to mind CHARLOTTE GILMAN’s famous short story THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. The plot is as evasive as a wraith. It goes from psychological thriller to ghost story to vampire tale and back again and it’s impossible to put your thumb down on what’s really going on. Unlike most films where the audience is asked to view things miles ahead of its protagonists, you never have any more information then Jessica does. We begin and end our story with Jessica floating in a small boat pondering what she has experienced– “Nightmares or dreams, madness or insanity, I don’t know which is which…” Don’t be surprised if by film’s end you wind up in the same perplexing boat.
- The mute waif roaming the woods
- Murder of the mole!
- Emily coming out of the water
- Discovering Woody on the tractor
- Waking up encircled by the creepy, scarred townsfolk