Twisted Nerve has Hayley Mills involved in some fairly gruesome Psycho-like proceedings.
She’s a bit shocked when the young anti-hero (Hywel Bennett) catches her off guard and kisses her fiercely; she’s sweetly reasonable when he suddenly turns to her stark naked; and she eventually faces near-rape and imminent murder with displeasure, but non-Disney-like aplomb.
There’s a firm, if unwitting, implication of a link between Down’s Syndrome and homicidal madness. This dangerous untruth is likely to be offensive to many.
This angle was not necessary. Stripped of it the film could still stand up as a reasonably tough chilling suspenser giving a compelling study of a warped young psychopath. Bennett, with his babyface and pageboy-bobbed hairstyle, is compelling, his performance being an effectively blended piece of menace.
Roy Boulting lacks the subtleties of a Hitchcock but manages to bring some brooding menace into his direction, woven with some neat dialog and brash humor.