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Critics Review
Hypnotic review: A vacuous thriller, starring Kate Siegel, that's best avoided

Hypnotic has nothing outstanding about it, it rolls out like any generic thriller. It should have been made back in the ‘90s, at least the aesthetics would have been better, far more pulpier (read: Scream).

2.0
Devki Nehra
Nov 07, 2021
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There are horror films that instil a deep sense of fear in you, and then there are horror films so bad that you spend most of the run time resisting the urge to fast forward. Hypnotic, which is among Netflix’s Halloween releases, is among the latter.

Jenn (Kate Siegel) is struggling both professionally and personally - she’s in between jobs and still coping from a stillborn pregnancy. When her best friend suggests she seek help from a hypnotherapist, Jenn is only slightly resistant to the idea, but then decides to give it a shot.

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Now, hypnotherapy has been used to allay anxiety, pain, phobias, depression and maladaptive habits like smoking. There’s not a lot of research that confirms the effectiveness of hypnotherapy but it’s still considered a useful tool. Hypnotic does nothing but vilify hypnotherapy that has been nothing but helpful to people who have turned to it. That’s one issue. Then there’s the matter of Dr Collin Meade (Jason O'Mara) violating the fundamental ethics of a client-therapist relationship. It’s odd to see him present at Gina’s (Lucie Guest) housewarming party, and offering his services to Jenn like he’s some personal trainer or interior decorator. Jenn does raise this concern but the ever-so charming Meade instantly brushes it off.

The charm only lasts for so long after Jenn discovers Meade’s sinister intentions (as if his creepy lair for an office was not the first red flag to turn around and flee). At first she’s extremely keen on the sessions, and claims feeling unburdened. But when she begins losing sense of time and memory is when she thinks to consider that maybe it was this therapist manipulating her. She then discovers literature after literature about sketchy “hypnotic crimes” that link back to Meade, and tries to free herself and Gina from his crutches. That, predictably so, ends badly. She even tries to seek aid from a cop, Detective Wade Rollins (Duleè Hill), who had once suspected this creepy therapist of being involved in a woman’s mysterious death. With just a couple of loose clues on his hand, he had to close that case and isn’t too keen to get involved in this one.

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It’s not too long till it’s confirmed that Meade is supremely screwed up. And then comes the why, moving quickly into a loud and messy (literally messy) climax. Ultimately, as expected, good triumphs over evil. The end. Every player in the film is as stupid as they come. It’s almost as if they are one upping each other on the spectrum of stupidity. They unquestionably choose the worst for themselves, and then don’t even stop once to reflect on it — like answering a call from an unknown number or even engaging with a therapist who cannot uphold the basic tenets of his profession. 

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Hypnotic has nothing outstanding about it, it rolls out like any generic thriller. It should have been made back in the ‘90s, at least the aesthetics would have been better, far more pulpier (read: Scream). Watch it for Siegel, if you have been a fan of her performance in The Haunting of Hill House or just don’t choose it at all. O'Mara is first-rate as the evil therapist. The only thing missing in his villainairy was the maniacal laughter. But the maniacal, murderous gleam was satisfying enough. 

If this review has you convinced that Hypnotic is a no-go, then choose Halle Berry’s The Call or even Gothika, for some edge-of-the-seat thrill.

Watch the Hypnotic's trailer here: 


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