Séance on a Wet Afternoon

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 16


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,252
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Movie Info

Kim Stanley plays a crooked medium who has become slightly unhinged since the death of her son. Craving money and publicity, she concocts a scheme with her weak-willed husband (Richard Attenborough). The pair will kidnap a wealthy young girl, collect the ransom, then use her "powers" to help the parents locate the child. The scheme falls apart, but not in the way that anyone might expect. Adapted by director Bryan Forbes from a novel by Mark McShane, Seance on a Wet Afternoon is a compelling psychological melodrama made doubly powerful by Stanley's mesmerizing performance. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Kim Stanley
as Myra Savage
Nanette Newman
as Mrs. Clayton
Margaret Lacey
as Woman at first Seance
Patrick Magee
as Supt. Walsh
Maria Kazan
as Woman at first Seance
Mark Eden
as Charles Clayton
Lionel Gamlin
as Man at Seances
Marian Spencer
as Mrs. Wintry
Judith Donner
as Amanda Clayton
Gerald Sim
as Sgt. Beedle
Arnold Bell
as Mr. Weaver
Maggie McGrath
as Woman at 2nd Seance
Frank Singuineau
as Bus Conductor
Michael Scott Lees
as Plainclothes Policeman
Hajni Biro
as Maid at Clayton's
Marie Burke
as Woman at first Seance
Ronald Hines
as Policeman at Clayton's
Godfrey James
as Clayton's Chauffeur
Diana Lambert
as Clayton's Secretary
John Lees
as Plain Clothes Policeman
Stanley Morgan
as Man in Trilby
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Critic Reviews for Séance on a Wet Afternoon

All Critics (16) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (3)

  • As a study in suspense, this film must surely be a kind of classic. It is also a perfect demonstration of the fact that the most effective suspense is invariably created in a low key and without any violence at all.

    Aug 30, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Why didn't such dedicated artists ask themselves whether the fable on which they lavished their talents was worth representing in the first place?

    Aug 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Rainy day or no, this is a film that can be enjoyed anytime one is inclined towards something dark and unsettling. Close the drapes, light a candle, and go wild.

    Apr 29, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • If one says that the best things about Séance on a Wet Afternoon are the performances of Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough and Bryan Forbes' script, this is not to decry Forbes' direction. In fact he does an excellent job.

    Feb 16, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Creepy but engrossing Hitchcock-like suspense story.

    Oct 27, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Highly effective psychological thriller, with a stunning star turn from Kim Stanley.

    Jul 24, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Séance on a Wet Afternoon

  • Mar 12, 2014
    Another hidden gem. The whole scheme makes this story run very very well. It is always a good sign when you hope that the bad guys get away with their evil plot.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2013
    "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" is a low-budget psychological thriller that deals with a dominating medium, her asthmatic husband and her plot to kidnap a wealthy couple's child in order to make her famous. The best reasoning I can think of it to give it a watch is the performances of Kim Stanley and Richard Attenborough, who are both just terrific in their roles. (Attenborough actually outdoes Stanley, whose performance garnered her an Oscar nomination.) Other than that, it's a pretty much by-the-numbers thriller.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2012
    A powerhouse, a haunted house, of a psychological thriller as a curious London couple plan and execute the kidnapping of a wealthy family's daughter. Stanley and Attenborough deliver pitch perfect performances as the couple with an ugly past.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2011
    Kim Stanley is a wild cat capable of driving any sanity standard out of its boundaries! Flawless performances and an eerie cinematography elegantly decorate this dark-toned, top-notch thriller exceptionally written and perfectly adapted from an unknown novel. Underrated British gem of 1964. 98/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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