Netflix recently released the Hypnotic, an Original crime thriller about hypnosis, which, with its misleading title, is disgracefully anything but hypnotic. Despite the pathetic attempts of directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote to introduce an element of suspense and mystery into the plot, the weak narrative fails what could have been an interesting premise.
Kate Siegel stars as the lead. She is now a regular at Netflix, having appeared in her husband Mike Flanagan’s Haunting trilogy, before which she was seen in Hush. Although Siegel’s performance in Hush was quite notably one of the best performances of her career where she was a deaf author in distress, heightening the tension with her horrifying silence, she remarkably fails to make an impact in the film. We almost don’t care about her character, staring at our screens in mild irritation, waiting for the film to be over.
Siegel plays Jenn, an unemployed software engineer with a broken heart whose life is in absolute shambles. Suffocated by the lack of growth in her life, the baggy sweatpants are an obvious indicator of the same in current times.
Jenn meets a sinister-looking shrink clad in a crisp suit, played eerily well by Jason O’Mara, named Dr Meade at her friend’s housewarming party and decides to be a part of his hypnosis therapy to find her true purpose and get her life together. O’Mara’s overall ominous aura and apparent amiability are enough to throw someone off, but like every other cliched horror trope, Jenn walks right into his trap.
Jenn soon realises that the therapy is not as liberating or innocent as it may seem, as the doctor has various tricks up his sleeve. The plot is supposed to gain momentum thereon, but it falls flat and appears almost laughable. With no character development, the attempts at being claustrophobic fail miserably, and the film is as clumsy and unentertaining as it can be. Jenn makes a number of bad decisions nearly unbelievable; it is physically impossible to watch Siegel go from playing an emotionally complicated character in all three Haunting series to such a flat, underdeveloped lead whose sorry predicament makes us feel anything but.
The review might be as short as we wished the film to be, but alas! Netflix’s attempt at churning out an original film almost every week is seemingly coming to bite them back as the content is no longer up to the mark. At this rate, the streamer might just have to go back to streaming old classics for no Hitchcock audience would want to witness such a sorry thriller.
Watch Hypnotic only if you are bored enough to do something of that sort. We, at Best of Netflix, would suggest you spend your time more wisely.