Directors: Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote
Writer: Richard D’Ovidio
Starring: Kate Siegel, Jason O’Mara, Dulé Hill, Lucie Guest, Jaime M. Callica, and Tanja Dixon-Warren
Every week Netflix releases a handful of films from around the world. This week Hypnotic has been released and may be the worst Netflix original ever produced. It claims to be a horror mystery, but there is nothing scary or suspenseful about it. The premise is not very well thought out and the characters don’t act like people. It’s hard to stay invested in something where people don’t do basic things to escape the situation they’re in.
Jenn (Kate Siegel) is struggling with grief after a miscarriage and breaking up with her fiancé Brian (Jamie M. Callica). Her life has stalled, and she’s stuck in a bad place. To help, she seeks out a hypnotherapist after the suggestion from one of her friends, Gina (Lucie Guest). Things are starting to look up and Jenn’s life is getting back on track, until she bumps into her therapist and has lunch. He suggests inviting her Brian to dinner to see where they stand with each other. Just before buying groceries, she has a phone call from a blocked number, goes into a trance and almost kills Brian with an allergic reaction. Jenn starts to suspect that her therapist may be behind it.
The premise of the story is interesting, but the way it plays out is really silly. When the big reveal happens, about why the therapist is hypnotising her, it just feels so over the top. It’s really trying to be unsettling and creepy, but it’s been done before in better ways. I won’t spoil anything here, in case you do end up watching it.
The biggest issue is everything could be solved by not talking to the therapist. Jenn discovers quite early on that the therapist used hypnosis to kill a previous patient by calling her and trigging a hypnotic state. Even though Jenn, Gina and a police detective know it’s the therapist, Jenn and Gina don’t change their phone numbers, so he’s able to call them. Jenn doesn’t look through the peephole before opening the door. It’s things like this that just take you completely out of the film. They are smart enough to figure out who’s behind it but take no precautions at all.
At one point Jenn goes under hypnosis again to record the therapist while under the influence. Not thinking that he could kill her or ask her questions that she must reply honestly. By the time the film reaches its conclusion you don’t care about Jenn, because no one would act like that at all. The police looked into the previous patient’s death, but the case was closed early, because? Reasons. Well, the plot wouldn’t happen if the police did the same amount of research that Jenn does on Google in one afternoon when she suspects it’s him. The writing is just atrocious.
Hypnotic is a lazy excuse for a suspenseful horror. It’s like a first draft that hasn’t been edited. Even though it’s under ninety minutes it feels at least double that. The plot meanders to its inevitable conclusion and by the end of it you’ll want hypnotherapy to forget you’ve ever seen it.
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