Hypnotic: A suspenseful thriller that lingers in your mind

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Dubai - In Hypnotic, a disturbed woman seeks help from a therapist to get her life back on track — and undergoes hypnosis sessions. Her life changes, but with dangerous consequences


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 6:35 PM


Kate Siegel as Jenn Tompson

Jason O’Mara as Dr Collin Meade

Dulé Hill as Detective Wade Rollins

Lucie Guest as Gina Kelman

Jaime M. Callica as Brian Rawley

Tanja Dixon-Warren as Dr Stella Graham

Luc Roderique as Scott Kelman

Devyn Dalton as Tabby

Stephanie Cudmore as Andrea Bowen

Directed by:

Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Okay, so here’s another one with average ratings — and I’ve realised that whenever I watch a movie with minimal expectations (thanks to bad ‘critical’ reviews), they invariably spring a surprise. Or, at least, half a surprise. Maybe that’s why Hypnotic worked for me. But maybe the other reason why it worked is because it is actually a rather watchable film.

Like Intrusion last week, I had my own reasons for wanting to watch Hypnotic. This time, it was Kate Siegel. Fresh off the Midnight Mass boat — where she was a prime mover and shaker, other than being director Mike Flanagan’s real-life wife — I immediately made a mental note to settle down with Hypnotic when the recommendation popped up “because you [I] watched Midnight Mass”. I thought it’s just me being myself when I couldn’t help noticing how much Siegel tries to pull off an Angelina Jolie (the facial expressions, the pout and the overall distinct ‘likeness’); but then I found an entire Internet section being devoted to the matter, including one titled ‘Angelina Jolie and Kate Siegel Look Uncannily Similar — Are They Related?’.

Getting back to the story… Siegel plays Jenn, a woman at a seeming dead-end — miscarriage, messy breakup, loss of job, drinking problem, the works… A friend, Gina (Lucie Guest), introduces her to a Dr Collin Meade (Jason O’Mara), and asks her to seek help from him: apparently, he’d helped turn Gina’s life around when she was in a spot. Jenn lands up at Dr Meade’s office for a session, and he suggests hypnotherapy — which will tap into the deepest recesses of her mind and present to them what it is really that’s bothering her. She agrees. Each time she wakes up from the couch, she doesn’t have any recollection of what she saw and/or heard when she went under, but she does keep getting strange — and inexplicable — flashes at all odd times. At the end of the therapy, however, it works swimmingly well for Jenn, and she gets her life back on track, never mind the little blips from her ‘hypnotic’ state that bother her once in a while.

Sometime later (post an incident that I shall not get into, ever heard of spoiler alert?), Jenn reckons there was something insidious happening while she was being hypnotised on the doctor’s couch. A quick background check on him reveals he’s not exactly what he’s being trumped up to be, and could very well have been involved in the mysterious deaths of a few other women in different geographies — who happen to share similar physical attributes with Jenn. Here is where jargon like “embedding false memories” come into play, and she reckons that she’s being played.

She has no idea why though, and she takes her friend Gina into confidence — who, in turn, discloses that she, too, had been hypnotised during her sessions. So, what is going on? And why have the two of them got embroiled in some sinister plot? An old case is reopened at the two women’s behest by Detective Wade Rollins (Dulé Hill), who has his own axe to grind with Dr Meade.

Hypnotic then becomes into a tailspin of twists and turns. A lot has to do with the grey area of hypnosis — a phenomenon that has no standing in court as scientific evidence but is used nevertheless as a means to sundry ends — and this is a domain the movie excels in. Demystifying hypnotism could very well be the tagline if you are interested to know why certain surreal things could happen to us; turns out, there’s a very simple explanation: mind games.


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