It’s funny they needed two directors to make the 2021 psychological thriller ‘Hypnotic’. Or maybe it’s the classic case of ‘t(w)oo many cooks spoil the broth’, because this film is a predictable muddle. In parts it feels like a horror movie, in some bits it comes across as a fantasy/magic tale, because some of the nonsensical scenes would only be acceptable in a story with witches.
Written by Richard D’Ovidio, Directed by Matt Angel and Susan Coote, ‘Hypnotic’ is about a woman who realizes her therapist is a dangerous man, when it’s too late, or is it? Kate Siegel plays Jenn Tompson, the protagonist, whose friend introduces her to the charming Dr Collin Meade. On their very first session, Meade uses hypnosis on Jenn, but they aren’t meant to help her. The doctor has his own sinister motives and a dubious past.
Let’s talk cinematography – it’s really annoying how the directors keep the sets completely dark, as if the story was taking place in Gotham city. The therapist’s office looks more like Mr Grey’s den from 50 Shades…, with doors that would perhaps lead to a BDSM chamber. Jenn says “cosy place you have here” (or something like that), when she sees Meade’s office, and as a viewer you might go “huh? you call this cosy? this place looks like the HQ of some cunning businessman who makes his workers slog to death, while sipping whiskey in his cold, dark, stylish chamber”. Even the cop’s office is dingy and dark. Even the roads seem go dark during broad daylight. Where do these people even live? Gloomsville?
One of the primary plot devices that carries this film forward is the method of hypnosis used by Dr Meade on his patients, and it’s exaggerated as hell. It’s like Meade is a wizard casting a mind spell on Jenn and she eventually runs to another therapist/witch who tries to cast a counter-spell to fight off Meade’s magic. Maybe the writer wanted to write a story with witches but the producers said “nope, we need a therapist as an antagonist, that’s more real”. Sure. On the contrary, it’s extremely far-fetched, and does disservice to mental health practitioners.
Kate Siegel is great as Jenn, she exudes the sad persona of a beautiful woman dealing with trauma; Jason O’Mara as Dr Meade is the right amount of creepy for the role. But the plot is too thin, filled with loopholes and the pacing is slow, even though the runtime is just 90 minutes. The writers foreshadow a twist with a very obvious hint in the first half, so a lot of viewers can see the climax coming. They should have just made a dark-fantasy film with magic and witches and maybe this would’ve been more fun. It’s a 5/10 from me.
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