Let's Scare Jessica to Death - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Let's Scare Jessica to Death Reviews

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Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2013
Made just two years after the Charles Manson murders, "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" has a weird hippy vibe to it, eerie with it's elements of communalism and counter-culture ostracization. Jessica is a timid sort of house wife, moving with her husband and a friend to a house out in the country. In town, they meet a group of locals who don't want them around. Arriving at the farm house, they're greeted by a squatter named Emily. In true hippy fashion, they invite Emily to stay with them. But Jessica, who was recently released from a mental institution, starts to have odd hallucinations. But are they hallucinations?

For such an obviously low budget, Let's Scare Jessica To Death manages create some fairly jarring, frightening images. The film is more disturbing than horrific, it makes us question who the crazy people are: Jessica (and us, as we observe through her eyes) or the people messing with Jessica, if they indeed are. It's a disturbing film, in the tradition of something like "Carnival of Souls". There are no clear answers and the whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense, which is probably the best way to go about creating this atmosphere of tension. In this manner, it succeeds.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2010
Exceptionally sad and sensitive for a cheap 70s horror, Let's Scare Jessica to Death is a unique look at mental illness within the genre. The movie is painfully dated, partially because it's not all that well made, which is its greatest issue by far. If you can remain empathetic and take it seriously, Zohra Lampert offers a picture of a woman walking a surprisingly blurry line between delusion and unbelievable reality. The task isn't always easy, with the generally ridiculous music and sometimes spotty acting from her support, but her interpretation of Jessica is sad and expressive. The movie is definitely about mood before plot, and Lampert aligns her performance with the movie's mood perfectly. It's actually frustrating (in the right way!) to watch her stutter and hesitate through her problems, surrounded by people who want her to get better and her own fears of not being able to do so. Anyway, I'm not sure I found this particularly frightening, but it's atmospheric and sad and generally creepy, much like Lake Mungo was. I guess I'm an easy target for these heavy horror-dramas.
Super Reviewer
½ February 17, 2010
Excellent psychological thriller. I actually prefer this over Don't Look Now. The two have nothing in common really, but I associate them for some reason. Don't Look Now looks fantastic but the story is boring. In Let's Scare Jessica To Death, the story is good and has some nice visuals, too. The beginning is a little tedious and takes it a bit for the story to kick in, but that's my only complaint. A nice trilogy of films to watch with female leads overcome by supernatural forces would be The Haunting, Let's Scare Jessica To Death and Rosemary's Baby.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2009
Let's Scare Jessica to Death is one of the forerunners of the 'films that need a decent release' crowd. The film is notoriously difficult to track down and just about every cult horror fan in existence that hasn't seen it wants to. I'm pleased to say that I finally got myself a copy...but unfortunately, it seems I'd set my expectations too high and Let's Scare Jessica to Death has turned out to be a little disappointing for me. But that's not to say I disliked it! The atmosphere in this film is superb, and massively helps the story along with it's themes of insanity in a sinister rural setting. The film follows a woman named Jessica who has recently been released from a mental hospital. Along with her husband and a friend of theirs, they move into a rickety old farmhouse, and meet a hippie chick squatter who has taken it upon herself to stay in the formally abandoned farmhouse. However, all is not well for Jessica as she's hearing voices again, and as if this isn't bad enough on it's own - there may be more to the young girl that the trio have decided to let stay with them.

The film appears to have been marketed more towards the 'zombie fan' end of the horror market judging by the front cover, but actually Let's Scare Jessica to Death is a psychological horror film. The way that Jessica hears voices in her head helps to create tension, and this in turn is helped by Zohra Lampert in the title role. Her acting isn't brilliant, but she has an aura of naivety about her, which helps when it comes to the vulnerable, insane side of her character. The plot is always slow moving and relaxed, and this allows the film to aptly put across the plight of the main character. There isn't much gore in the film at all, which is likely to disappoint fans of the more visceral side of horror. It's clear that Let's Scare Jessica to Death is somewhat overly ambitious with its plotting, as I often got the idea that the film is trying to be more intelligent that the screenplay allows. But even so, Let's Scare Jessica to Death is a creepy gem and one that will certainly appeal to fans of the less gore focused horror movies.
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2009
Cheaply gothic and, at times, surprisingly creepy. Still, a film that has not held up well through the test of time.
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2007
A spooky-as-heck ghost movie set at an isolated country farmhouse in the early 70's - which has some seriously eerie atmosphere.

Jessica, just released from a mental hospital, goes to live out in the country with her caring husband and his buddy. They befriend a strange woman living in their old house and invite her to stay. It's very hippyish, and typical of the early 70's.

Jessica starts seeing and hearing weird things: ghosts in the graveyard, dead bodies and something under the water of the lake. She thinks the old men in the nearby town are undead.

Things get worse when she is convinced those she lives with are attempting to harm her. She becomes very paranoid and tries to flee and defend herself. The movie is told mostly from Jessica's perspective, and it's a very creepy series of events, leaving us wondering if Jessica is insane, if these manifestations are real, or if those around her are trying to scare her to death.

It sometimes gives me shivers thinking about the things in this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ June 30, 2007
Interesting twist on the ghost story but it's horribly dated and the acting is painful to watch.
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2011
"Let's Scare Jessica to Death" certainly isn't the worst horror film I've seen, but it's among the dullest. It's also badly dated by the grainy image quality, terrible score (imagine a non-musician noodling with a synthesizer for the first time) and shaggy male actors. The positives? An interesting, introspective actress (Zohra Lambert) in the lead role and an unusually ambiguous story -- the events are not adequately explained and leave room for interpretation. Lambert portrays a mentally unstable woman seeking a restful getaway in the country, but it's unclear which of her fears are imagined and which reflect legitimate threats posed by the townspeople. Depending on your taste, this vagueness could be either provocative or frustrating.
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2012
A descent 70's horror flick.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2012
Music was quite creepy, make up was decent, but too many things were left unexplained. And the poster for the film was misleading.
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2008
Off beat and moody. Check this out if your in the mood for a 70's mind trip mixed with some truly scary moments.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2008
This was a really campy film with a story that didn't make all that sense, but it gets points for being made in the 70's and also for the great horror music throughout!
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2007
Won't scare you to death, but is a heavily atmospheric, surreal and well acted yet confusing horror tale.
February 3, 2015
A nice surrealist, psychological thriller for fans of 70s horror flicks. The movie keeps you guessing what is real and what isn't. I think its about a mentally fragile young woman who has dropped too much acid and who cant come to terms with her homosexuality. That's just my take.
½ April 3, 2012
As far as ambiance Let's Scare Jessica to Death is wonderful. The lack of a real soundtrack makes things much more intense at times. However the acting is overdone (which is a testament to how few of the stars were cast in major roles after this film). The debate as to whether Jessica is still insane or if events are really occurring is never really played with and the ending and explanation is a bit absurd. Still Let's Scare Jessica to Death is better than critics give it credit for just don't expect much.
April 11, 2013
A very mild, very dull mystery with supernatural undertones that's mostly a long, slow buildup for an unsatisfying conclusion of little sense.
½ February 3, 2012
Awesome title, painfully dull and slow-moving "horror" film. Stephen King claims this is one of his favourite horror movies..I think he needs to rethink that statement.
½ October 22, 2012
Okay, so there are definitely a few silly moments in this film, but the overall vibe is one of unease and creepiness, which goes a long way toward making it worth the time on a quiet Sunday afternoon, which is much the way that I enjoyed this one.

Give it a rental, see what you think.
October 21, 2012
A deeply unsettling exercise in on- and offscreen space, alternating between intensely claustrophobic framing and wide open spaces to create a hypnotic sense of dread that slowly crescendoes into a terrifying final act. Beautifully shot, with cool, subdued colors, with a great, mellow, folksy, pleasant piano-based score that adds immensely to the eerily off-kilter experience. Like "Carnival of Souls," the low-budget aesthetic is part of what makes "Let's Scare Jessica to Death" so chillingly otherworldly. One of the best and scariest horror movies I've seen.
½ May 19, 2012
Avoid This movie! The end leaves you unfilled and pissed off that you wasted 90 minutes of your life. I usually like 70s horror/suspense movies, but not this turd.
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