“Nightmares or dreams? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which!”
A recently institutionalized woman (Zohra Lampert) moves with her husband (Barton Heyman) and their friend (Kevin O’Connor) to an abandoned farm in the country, where they encounter a mysterious red-headed hippie (Mariclare Costello) living on the property. They invite Emily (Costello) to stay with them, but Jessica (Lampert) becomes unnerved when she discovers that Emily bears an uncanny resemblance to a long-dead previous owner…
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Horror Films
- Mental Illness
- “No One Believes Me!”
The intriguing title of this atmospheric horror film leads one to believe that gaslighting may be its primary theme, but this isn’t necessarily the case — instead, the film keeps us in continual suspense about who or what is responsible for Jessica’s renewed sense of fear and paranoia. Is she going mad again, or are the bloody corpses she sees cropping up on her property actually real? And why do certain town members — many of whom are inexplicably gruff and cold — have mysterious scars on their necks? Zohra Lampert is well-cast as the perennially nervous, child-like Jessica, who wants desperately to be “well” again but can’t help fearing for her sanity; equally effective — though we only gradually understand why — is Costello, giving an appropriately understated and mysterious performance. While it’s not must-see for all film fanatics, fans of horror suspense films will likely be curious to check this sleeper out. Click here to see a website devoted to the film.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Zohra Lampert’s sensitive — albeit occasionally overly twitchy — performance as Jessica
- Mariclare Costello as Emily
- An atmospheric, effectively creepy ambiance
No, but it will likely be of interest for fans of the genre. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.