One thing that has to said for this movie - it hits the ground running with the first murder occurring before the two minute mark. It’s immediately obvious that this is going to be a psycho killer murder mystery.
The setting is a somewhat depressing English small town. Auntie B (Ruth Dunning) is an amiable soul who runs a boarding house. Her nephew Hughie (Terence Knapp) is moderately retarded although he’s friendly and good-natured. Of course we know that Hughie is going to be a suspect.
The murder of the daughter of the landlord at the Anchor public house causes a great deal of excitement and consternation. The evidence seems to point towards Hughie, and the townspeople are certainly convinced that he is the killer. Feelings are running high. This is one of those unpleasant movies in which rural and/or working-class people are portrayed as hateful bigots who will turn on anybody who is different.
It’s never explicitly mentioned but the sexual nature of the crimes is made rather obvious.
Solving the mystery here is not going to stretch the mental capacities of the average viewer. It’s also fairly clear that Superintendent Allen has a pretty fair idea of the strangler’s identity. With the mystery not adding up to much the film has to rely on the suspense angle and it doesn’t really rise to any great heights in that department either.
If I’ve made this movie sound rather dull then I’m afraid that’s because it is rather dull. British B-pictures of this era are often surprisingly good in spite of their budgetary limitations but this one never shows any sign of being anything other than a very routine by-the-numbers B-picture.
The acting isn’t too bad. Terence Knapp is reasonably convincing as Hughie.
Urge to Kill is harmless enough but it’s definitely along way from the top rank of British B-features of its era. If you’re going to buy the Edgar Wallace boxed set then you’re getting it as an extra which is just as well since it would certainly not be worth purchasing on its own merits. Hard to recommend this one I’m afraid.