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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

[Review] Netflix’s ‘Hypnotic’ Skips Mind Games in Favor of Generic Thriller

Netflix’s “Netflix and Chills” Halloween lineup winds down with a new thriller by directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote (The Open House). Despite its name and suggestion, Hypnotic eschews any mind games and instead opts for a lean, straightforward thriller. It moves at a snappy pace, which is good considering this lean thriller is also slight on suspense or thrills.

Jenn (Kate Siegel) shows up to her best friend’s housewarming with a dead plant and an admission of drinking the bottle of wine initially intended as a gift. She’s without a job and still struggling to get over her ex, Brian (Jaime M. Callica). Then her best friend (Lucie Guest) recommends a new therapist Dr. Collin Meade (Jason O’Meara) for some self-help to get her life back on track. It works, at least at first. But Jenn starts to lose gaps in her memory, then control over her life after a few intense sessions.

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

Angel and Coote, working from a script they wrote with Richard D’Ovidio (The Call), surprisingly avoid employing any expected tropes with hypnotism to toy with audiences; only Jenn is the subject of mind games here. Even then, Hypnotic shows its hand early and often. A few hypnotic swirl camera tricks and a blackout or so later, Jenn quickly deduces something is amiss, but getting the mustache-twirling villain Collin out of her life won’t be so easy and comes with a few dumb decisions.

The story is as straightforward as it is generic. Not even the conceit of hypnotism can reinvigorate a basic thriller formula. When enticing Jenn to participate in his unique form of therapy, an early line by Collin presents an idea that Jenn might have ultimate control over her subconscious, teasing out a very different outcome than the bland route taken. A course that would’ve given Jenn a bit more autonomy in her bid for survival.

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

The directors bypass the unreliable narrator and gaslighting tropes, too; Jenn doesn’t have a difficult time convincing those in her orbit that Collin has tampered with her mind. Then again, Collin doesn’t see anyone as a threat, either. It becomes a systematic cornering of the damsel, reducing stakes in the process. The film also presents Collin as someone that can exploit someone’s worst fears to devastating degrees, and then skims right by that, too.

Siegel makes for a likable lead with no trouble engendering rooting interest, even in a narrative without much depth or surprises. Callica is endearing in his brief appearances, and Dulé Hill is solid as Jenn’s most pivotal ally. While Jenn gets a smidge more fleshed out as the lead, all are rendered as basic archetypes rather than characters. O’Meara fares the worst, trapped in a one-note role of conventional villain.

Despite its brisk pace, Hypnotic makes for a sleepy lull rather than an adrenaline-pumping thriller. The concept of a woman losing control over her mind as an insidious predator takes up residence sounds fascinating, but Hypnotic never bothers to explore in any engaging way. The narrative plays it too safe and straightforward, making for a serviceable but generic effort. Not even Siegel or loud music stings can wake this up from tidy slumber.

Hypnotic is available on Netflix as of October 27, 2021.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3689111/review-netflixs-hypnotic-skips-mind-games-favor-generic-thriller/

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