I’m sad and astonished to report we’re close to wrapping up the best month on the blog. This week brings us more horror with the unintentional bonus theme of (mis)handling mental health. But let’s be honest—that’s every month on this blog.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
Upon moving to a creepy house in the country, a woman’s dark hallucinations return, disrupting her connection to reality.
After mysteriously moving to a small, rural town, Jessica is ready to put the past behind her. She’s arrived in town rather ominously in a hearse, along with her husband and also…some random guy who just lives with them? Like I tried really hard to figure out why he was there being the awkward live-in third wheel but that remains unclear.
So anyway…Jessica alludes vaguely to her visions and time in the hospital, but is more than happy to leave all of that behind. It seems eerie visions aren’t entirely in the past, though, when she sees a ghostly figure of a woman in a graveyard. To avoid any unwanted questions, Jessica keeps this particular sighting quiet, convincing herself she didn’t really see anything. That always works out well in horror, right…?
To make things worse, the group takes a ferry over to the house, aka the old Brookfield place. The man who runs the ferry tells them sinisterly they’ll be on the other side soon after hearing where they’re heading. Ooooooooh, double meanings!
Upon arriving at the house, Jessica and the others discover they aren’t quite alone. A woman named Emily has been living in the abandoned house and, feeling a kinship with her, Jessica invites her to stay. She sort of regrets this immediately when Emily and Jessica’s husband, Duncan, share an uncomfortable lute duet filled with sexual tension.
Meanwhile, Jessica is seeing more and more dark visions, including seeing blood, hearing voices, and encountering a dead body floating in the nearby pond. The small town vibe is rather eerie as well—the approximately 4 dudes who live in town seem set on being really standoffish and uninviting. The one somewhat friendly face in town is the antiques dealer, who is quick to reveal the sad story of a local woman who drowned and now haunts the town and/or may be a vampire (begging the question of whether you can be both a vampire and a ghost simultaneously).
As Jessica sees increasingly disturbing images, Emily is more and more sinister, and Duncan acts even sleazier, Jessica begins to question what is real, desperate to convince herself she’s imagining everything. Who will make it to the other side, as it were?
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
It’s not especially scary as a horror film, but it does set up an atmosphere of paranoia very effectively and tackles mental health quite well. Jessica seeing things no one else can see and constantly second-guessing herself and the voices in her head is so real.
I really enjoyed Emily as a character/chaotic force of nature while simultaneously feeling a lot of sympathy for Jessica. The men in this film could’ve just spontaneously combusted and it would have been fine with me; they were quite bland characters.
Ha, though some of the, er, suspenseful music is hilarious and does take away from the drama of it all at times. It makes me wonder if all of the intense music post-Dark Knight will be laughable in a few years and take people out of the scene immediately.