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The Eyes of Annie Jones is a quirky film, not strong on suspense but interesting in its own right. A woman is murdered in a small UK town and the body hidden. Her Aunt Helen requests the presence of the woman's brother and his wife, as she feels foul play is afoot. The Aunt then enlists the aid of a psychic yet troubled teenage orphan, Annie Jones, to help locate the missing woman. Conflict ensues.
Though described elsewhere as a whodunit, the murderer is revealed in the opening scene and the full motives well before the ending. The drama instead comes from the way in which the mystery is solved and through the interactions of the characters, often in oddly forced histrionics. Pacing is also an issue... slow and awkward throughout with stiff staging. This is offset some by the eerie score and the not always predictable story.
The cast is entirely English, save for the bizarrely miscast Richard Conte as David Wheeler, the ne'er-do-well brother of the murdered Geraldine. His New York personality is explained away through weak exposition, as he was shipped off by his father to America at an early age. Otherwise the acting is acceptable, though truly weird at times thanks to extreme character reverses and forced dialog. These moments, for me, were almost brilliantly surreal, though surely unintended.
Veteran actress Francesca Annis is the highlight of the film, as the psychic orphan Annie Jones. Her working class accent comes and goes at random, but her psycho-sexual intensity and erratic personality shifts make up for other failings. The paranormal occurrences are unfortunately few, and in particular the trance scenes seem lifted from another, better movie. But it's through her character that the film gains a creepy edge.
Overall a periodically intriguing B-movie curiosity. If you can get past the miscast lead, slow pace, weak dialog moments, unmotivated character shifts, etc., then worth a look.
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