Netflix original movies are like the fast food of the movie world; they are cheap and easy to make, they will fill you temporarily, have a reasonable taste that is familiar and not challenging, but you will either forget the meal or regret the quick fix altogether. Hypnotic, from filmmakers Suzanne Coote and Matt Angel (The open house), won’t have you standing in line for this throw-away thriller to be suggested, but it won’t keep you hooked either. It’s another useful, albeit disappointing here-then-gone feature from Netflix that wastes a solid premise and compelling lead performance from Midnight Mass‘Kate Siegel.
Siegel stars as Jenn, a capable but unemployed computer programmer who is estranged from her ex-fiancée after a miscarriage. Her boyfriend is stuck in a rut and proposes to meet with the handsome therapist Dr. Collin Meade (Jason O’Mara), who primarily uses hypnosis to help his patients cope with their problems. After her first hypnosis session, Jenn is blacked out on a date with her ex Brian (Jaime M. Callica) that nearly kills Brian. Jenn then begins to investigate a series of coincidences related to Dr. Meade with the help of a Det. Wade Rollins (Dulé Hill). The couple soon realize that the good doctor is anything but good.
Hypnotic mainly suffers from the fact that it is a thriller with a lack of suspense. The film introduces “hypnotic suggestion” scenes where a character sees something, usually one of their phobias, that isn’t there, but these flirtations with conventional horror are few and far between. The film borrows some rhythms from erotic thrillers from the 90s such as night eyes but is virtually sexless and sterile. Furthermore, much of the plot relies on the characters answering calls from unknown numbers, but no one under 50 answers their phone like that anymore. Do not believe me? I have proof.
Still, Kate Siegel does her best. As Netflix horror queen, Siegel shows that Jenn is in a bad place without falling into caricature or appearing like she’s in an antidepressant commercial. Jenn feels like a lived-in character and Siegel never goes over the top when unexplained events begin to happen.
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