The English director Ken Hughes isn't the most known director in the world, though I seem to have watched three of his movies: "Casino Royale" (he was one of the five directors), "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Terror Eyes" (a.k.a. "Night School", an acceptable American take on the giallo phenomenon). Not that I knew this when I bought my copy of "Confession", which I found in the Extreme Sales section of my local megastore. The movie looked okay enough to spend 5 on (especially since it used to cost 30), so I bought "Confession". Also the names of Ken Hughes and Audrey Dalton vaguely rang a few bells. Research post-purchase informed me Dalton also starred in "The Monster That Challenged The World" and William Castle's "Mr. Sardonicus". There have been worse references.
"Confession" sounds a bit like Hitchcock's "I Confess" (released two years earlier), in that both movies feature a murder confessed in church and a priest who's bound by catholic law not to reveal what had been confessed. Even more striking is that both movies have been based on plays.
It would be wrong though to see "Confession" as only a copycat of the Hitchcock movie: only the theme is vaguely similar and the plot develops in different directions. For my money, "Confession" is the better film of the two, an incredibly underrated film which isn't easy to obtain (in 1994 Warner Bros released it on video in the UK, but that's the only version I've seen of the film).
The movie starts with a man confessing he's murdered a man. Why he confesses and why just that scene has been used to start the film will only be revealed half an hour later. After the credits we start with a flashback, where we watch how Louise welcomes her brother Mike who returned from a long stay in the US. Mike is portrayed by Sydney Chaplin who had an interesting career which kicked off with a Chaplin movie in 1952 ("Limelight") but ended with trashy horror like "Psycho Sisters" (1974) and "Satan's Cheerleaders" (1977). Why Mike has returned to England isn't quite clear, but he's always been someone who doesn't like to stay in one place for long. Though this time there might be another reason: Mike gets a phone call from somebody who demands his money. It's not long before somebody dies.
"Confession" doesn't work as a whodunit because we know who the murderer is. More interesting here is how all this affects the relationship between Mike and his family members. Equally interesting is the woman Mike meets in a bar (and how rude he is to her), but it's not completely clear to me what the writers tried to establish with these scenes. All in all this is a good movie and it's a shame the movie didn't get a better distribution.
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