REVIEW: ‘Hypnotic’ is Disturbing Melodrama

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Hypnotic - But Why Tho

There is nothing more terrifying than going to a therapist. You go into their office, you sit on their couch, and you scratch at all the scabs left by wounds that just don’t seem to heal, exposing your trauma and everything that lies around it. That pure vulnerability is what makes it ripe for a horror story. Hypnotic is one of the Netflix October originals that looks to chill its audience by taking melodrama to a disturbing level.

Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, written by Richard D’Ovidio, and starring Kate Siegel in the lead role, Hypnotic deals with, well hypnosis. Taking the idea that someone can implant ideas and actions into your mind and trigger behaviors without your knowledge let alone your consent isn’t necessarily new. That said, in Hypnotic, the cast brings this concept to life and removes it from spies and state agents and puts in everyday people who are hurting and taken advantage of.

In Hypnotic, Jenn (Kate Siegel) is stuck. She’s stuck in her job and she’s stuck in here life, still reeling from a series of traumatic events. In the hope of finding herself again and moving forward she enlists the help of a renowned hypnotherapist, Dr. Meade (Jason O’Mara), to help on her road to recovery. After a handful of intense sessions, terrifying events, and mysterious blackouts, Jenn soon finds herself caught in a dangerous mind game. With the help of Detective Wade Rollins (Dulé Hill), Jen looks to put the pieces together before it’s too late and there are deadly consequences.

For what it’s worth, if you go into Hypnotic expecting next level commentary on consent, trauma, and power dynamics, you won’t really get that here. But, what you do get is a melodramatic story with a great lead and a truly creepy antagonist. And the film knows what it is, in the best way. The first two acts are slow, and I mean slow, before picking up at breakneck speed in the finale. The slow-moving pacing makes some character decisions stand out even more, especially when the truth behind the psychologist is revealed. In fact, a lot of the writing tries to use vocal triggers as a gotcha moment for our antagonist. However, they take you out of the film, especially when blocking numbers exist and a person who knows there is an evil guy on the other end of the phone would just hang-up before the trigger phrase is said.

Obviously there is a lot of suspension of disbelief at play throughout the film, including one scene where Jenn is stuck to a bed post because of a trigger that causes her to grip the railing. However, the absurdity of the situation is sold by the actors involved and ultimately Siegel carries the film as much as she can. As Jenn, Siegel continues her scream queen streak. Her presence and vulnerability throughout most of the film brings her signature melancholy and weight, and in the film’s final act her final girl 180 is something to see.

As a film there isn’t much to say about Hypnotic other than it is beautifully shot with actors that can act their hearts out but the dialogue and circumstance can’t be overlooked. Yes, horror and thrillers and mysteries all call for some level of suspension of disbelief, but Hypnotic asks too much. It asks the audience to throw common sense out the window too frequently and, despite a pretty damn good final act, the snails pace of a beginning will make it hard for viewers to get hooked. That said, Kate Siegel supremacy remains a Netflix constant and fans of her work will get a kick, if nothing else, from her performance.

Hypnotic is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix.


Hypnotic
  • 4/10
    TL;DR - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

As a film there isn’t much to say about Hypnotic other than it is beautifully shot with actors that can act their hearts out but the dialogue and circumstance can’t be overlooked. Yes, horror and thrillers and mysteries all call for some level of suspension of disbelief, but Hypnotic asks too much. It asks the audience to throw common sense out the window too frequently and, despite a pretty damn good final act, the snails pace of a beginning will make it hard for viewers to get hooked. That said, Kate Siegel supremacy remains a Netflix constant and fans of her work will get a kick, if nothing else, from her performance.