Picking a film to watch based solely on its title is sometimes the best way to have an exciting viewing experience. That’s exactly what I did when I decided to watch Séance on a Wet Afternoon. I knew nothing about the plot or cast, but the title seemed promising. What I expected to be an old supernatural horror film turned out to be a riveting psychological thriller about a deranged psychic, her anxious husband, and a kidnapping gone terribly wrong.
Kim Stanley puts on a flawless performance as Myra Savage, a psychic that is willing to do just about anything to publicize her talents. She is able to force her weak, docile husband, Billy Savage (Richard Attenborough) to kidnap the daughter of a high-profile couple so she can aid the police with finding the child’s whereabouts using her psychic powers. Myra is obviously mentally unstable and has one of the best mental breakdowns in cinema history at the very end of the film. One can’t help but feel sympathy for her husband because he’s so fragile and wants to please his wife so badly, but there’s definitely more than meets the eye with Billy. As the Savages get deeper into the kidnapping (or shall I say “borrowing”) of the child, they devise a plan to demand a ransom. While Billy may seem like a nervous mess, he does a great job of keeping calm while carrying out his plan to accept the ransom money, which leads to a very exciting cat-and-mouse chase through the streets of London.
This classic British film is full of top-notch acting and has one of the most unique storylines that I’ve ever seen in a movie. There are times when the film seems to be moving at a slow pace, but I can guarantee that there is never a dull moment. It’s really easy to dislike Myra, especially in the film’s opening scenes, but in her breakthrough moment at the end, there’s no doubt that those feelings will completely change. The development of her character from the beginning of the film to the end is really phenomenal. I really can’t get over how perfect Stanley’s acting is in this film. This is the only film that I’ve seen her in so far, but I plan on exploring some of her other work very soon.
Séance on a Wet Afternoon is currently streaming on Hulu Plus.