Kind of odd and fairly entertaining 70s B horror movie. Not really a great film, it suffers pretty badly from some dated cheesiness, but it does have enough offbeat moments and overwrought performances to be decent entertainment for cult movie fans.
Zohra Lampert is just wonderful in this underseen chiller. Aurally and psychologically fascinating with a sense that something sick and mouldering is gurgling just beyond the screen's edge. Though some elements may not totally cohere, it's a masterpiece of mood and soundscape if nothing else.
I found this to be a more audibly evocative film than a visually scary one, and the sounds of it all heighten the psychological element of it. The score, which shifts from beautiful, mellow, and melodic to discordant and noisy mixed with her internal dialog makes you feel what she's going through. By itself, "what she's going through" isn't all that haunting for me, though.
Akin to a lullaby, its dreamy tone feels like it inspired Terrence Malick's Badlands (1973) in moody serenity, and it's a fine early example of independent arthouse horror. Conjuring up the atmospheric aura of literature, especially The Yellow Wallpaper, in its haunting visual poetry, Let's Scare Jessica to Death is more atmosphere heavy than a deep, coherent psychoanalysis of Jessica, but is a melancholic treat.
It's a mystery why this isn't discussed more when considering history of horror, and it's also amazing what you can do with a low budget. Boring if you expect this to be a slasher or something similar, but I'm a huge fan of slow-burning horror. The lake scene towards the end and the knife attack are incredibly creepy, but the overall camerawork and sound design are also impressive.
I still remember a scene where Zorah Lampert gets chased by the woman vampire from the lake and she runs and barricades herself in her bedroom. The tombstone wax etchings she had previously hung on the bedroom wall now all seem menacing. Quietly, she works herself up to such a state of paranoia and fear that the actual scream she emits upon seeing her own reflection in the mirror is quite startling.