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Movie Reviews

Netflix Thriller, Hypnotic, May Put You to Sleep

Netflix is releasing Hypnotic today, a new psychological thriller. Check out the trailer and synopsis below:

Feeling stuck both personally and professionally, Jenn (Kate Siegel), a young woman reeling from a series of traumatic events, enlists 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), Jenn looks to put the pieces together before it’s too late and there are deadly consequences.

Directed by relative newcomers Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote (The Open House, Sick). Written by Richard D’Ovidio (The Forger, The Blacklist: Redemption).

Hypnotic (L-R). Jason O’Mara as Dr. Collin Meade, Kate Siegel as Jenn, in Hypnotic. Cr. Eric Milner/Netflix © 2021

The idea of a therapist getting in your head and controlling you in some way is hardly a new concept. Hypnotic isn’t reinventing the wheel but some of the stylistic choices are good. The script and many of the performances are a little weak, however.

Kate Siegel (The Haunting of Hill House, Hush) puts in a strong performance as Jenn. Her performance is the only one I really believed, everything else felt a little surface level. Her character makes a lot of bad decisions to keep the story going but credit for Siegel for fully committing to a limited script.

The script really hinders the performances overall. Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Dr. Collin Meade isn’t as suave or intimidating as he should be. Dulé Hill (Psych, The West Wing) is in a smaller role than I anticipated as Detective Wade Rollins. Hill does his best with what he has, he provides quite a lot of the exposition, which isn’t the most exciting role to play.

I’m surprised at the level of actor that signed on for this film. The writer and directors are inexperienced and the end product isn’t great. Maybe the script read better than it shows on film.

Hypnotic. Dulé Hill as Det. Wade Rollins, in Hypnotic. Cr. Eric Milner/Netflix © 2021

The cinematography is really well done by John S. Bartley (The X Files, Bates Motel). Bartley shoots the film using a few tricks, without making it gimmicky. Hypnotic has some nice shots that add to the tension. The use of a wide lens to get distortion at the edges of the frame creates an unsettling feeling. The production design is also strong, with Dr. Meade’s therapist office being a unique space.

Hypnotic strayed into melodrama quite a few times. The performances occasionally were a little wooden and the tension was lacking. The opening scene of the film is strong and raised my hopes for Hypnotic. It’s a nice setup but the subsequent scenes lose the tension and it falls a little flat. The finale of the film is ok, it’s a little predictable.

The film only lasts 90 minutes yet it feels like a lot of the scenes aren’t adding anything. It could have been an hour-long television episode and may have been better for it. I wouldn’t recommend Hypnotic unless you’re a really big fan of the genre, and even then, it might not be worth it. The cast deserved better, especially Kate Siegel who is owning the thriller genre of late.

Hypnotic is released globally on Netflix October 27th 2021

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