15 July 2024
Deadly Strangers (1974)
88 min.
Directed by Sidney Hayers.
With Hayley Mills, Simon Ward, Sterling Hayden, Ken Hutchinson, Peter Jeffrey, Hubert Tucker, Nina Francis, Ralph Arliss, George Collis.
A satisfying and well made British psycho thriller.

A faceless maniac escapes from a mental asylum. To the chagrin of the police and cloaked by night, the killer successfully blends into the local countryside.

Meanwhile and nearby, lovely Belle (Mills) is in need of some transportation and so she hitches a car ride with shifty-eyed Stephen (Ward).

But it's not long before she begins to suspect that Stephen may in actuality be the same loony on the lam that the police are hunting! Could it be so?

Leanly plotted with thoughtful characterizations, this engaging entry is worthwhile viewing thanks to good turns from both '60s Disney maven Mills and the creepy-but-ever-so-strangely charming Ward.

Spiced with a few off kilter touches (Sterling Hayden's performance as Belle's would-be rescuer is bewilderingly watchable) and imbued with an overcast dankness, this underseen downbeat '70s terror is worth seeking out.

Best scene: the very cool climax.

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