If you believe your life is in great danger and have been followed by a serial killer who you knew has an ability to hypnotise victims through a phone call, would you answer a call from an unknown number in the middle of the night? If the answer is still yes, then the new psychological thriller Hypnotic is for you.
Written by Richard D'Ovidio and directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, Hypnotic centres on the life of Jenn Tompson (Kate Siegel), a young woman who's reeling from a series of traumatic events. Through the recommendation of a friend, Jenn enlists a renowned hypnotherapist Dr Collin Meade (Jason O'Mara) to help on her along the road to recovery. But after several intense sessions, she soon experiences blackouts and discovers terrifying events. With the help of detective Wade Rollins (Dulé Hill), she tries to put the pieces together before she becomes the next victim.
Judging by the concept alone, Hypnotic has some potential to be a decent thriller. It's quite terrifying to imagine that someone could gain so much control over another just through hypnosis. And the film tries to use the concept to its advantage creating some engaging scenarios. But unfortunately, when it comes to the execution, it ends up falling flat. I was disappointed at how ordinary and lacking the hypnosis scenes were. A few dream sequences pop up here and there, but they weren't substantial enough to make the film interesting. Though the movie name-drops a couple of things like the top-secret programme run by the CIA called MK Ultra, it never tries to make any meaningful connection between the hypnotism and the concept. It seems like the movie was trying to be smarter than it was.
Everything about this movie is exhausted, from the concept to the over-the-top performances. You can easily identify the bad guy within the first quarter of the story, even though the movie does try to plant some doubt. At 90 minutes, the movie is well paced, but the obvious plot progression makes it feel much longer.
Kate Siegel as Jenn Tompson. (Photos © NETFLIX)
We have seen Siegel quite often lately, especially in Netflix hit series like The Haunting Of Hill House (2018) and Midnight Mass (2021), but her performance here feels bland and distracted. Her character feels incomplete. O'Mara plays the therapist and he exudes just the right amount of creepy persona even though many of his actions don't make much sense. Hill is OK, but his character felt kind of lukewarm. The mystery that he's investigating also really does need some work. It didn't excite me enough and it felt like it was only loosely tied to the main story, even though there's a lot that could intersect. Hypnotic is also one of those movies where the characters keep making stupid decisions before getting themselves killed, like answering a phone call from an unknown number. You will find yourself eventually losing interest as the story progresses. I found myself just wishing they would get to the climax quickly, since it was pretty much already determined where everything was headed.
Overall, Hypnotic is a below average thriller that won't leave you mesmerised. The story may have some potential to be a suspenseful psychological thriller, but because it never fully embraces what it could be, the final product feels undercooked. The predictable plot and poor execution also work against any suspense and tension, making me wish that I was the one being hypnotised, so I could forget I ever saw this movie. My only advice before you decide to watch Hypnotic is maybe try to approach it with the lowest expectation because the film will surely meet you there.
- Starring Kate Siegel, Jason O’Mara, Dulé Hill
- Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote
- Now streaming on Netflix