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IANS Review: 'Hypnotic': Fails to be compelling as a psycho-thriller (IANS Rating: **1/2)

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Author : Troy Ribeiro

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Film: Hypnotic (Streaming on Netflix)

Duration: 89 minutes

Directors: Matt Angel & Suzanne Coote

Cast: Jason O'Mara, Kate Siegel, Dule Hill, Jaime M. Callica, Lucy Guest, Luc Roderiques

IANS Rating: **1/2

'Hypnotic' starts strong as a psycho-thriller but soon peters out as a lame survivor's tale, where an evil hypnotherapist uses his expertise of hypnosis on his clients to carry out his vicious plans.

The narrative revolves around Jenn (Kate Siegel), a brilliant software engineer who is currently unemployed and suffers from depression. The cause of her depression is not her unemployment status but the trauma of losing her child with whom she had hardly spent any time. Her depression leads her to become a recluse, and she constantly blames herself for the turn of events in her life, which leads to her break-up with her fiancé Brian (Jaime M. Callica).

To help her out of her depression, her best friend Gina (Lucy Guest), introduces her to her psychotherapist, the handsome Dr. Collin Meade (Jason O'Mara), who after a few sessions, convinces Jenn to try hypnosis as therapy. He tells her, "Only you can control your subconscious? and, it is an excellent tool for people who have suffered trauma."

After a couple of hypnotherapy sessions, Jenn finds her life improving. In a chance meeting with Dr. Meade, she admits to harbouring a soft corner for Brian. Despite her reluctance, Dr. Meade advises her to invite Brian for dinner, where she inexplicably attempts to kill him.

While trying to recall the sequence of the events of that evening, she realises that Dr. Meade had a hand in her actions. As she delves into Dr. Meade's history, she soon finds herself caught in a dangerous mind game, and so, she confides in Gina. Together they approach Detective Wade Rollins (Dule Hill). Despite some collateral damages, how they nail the doctor before it is too late forms the crux of the narrative.

Richard D'Ovidio's script is taut and focussed, containing all the tropes of the genre. With Jenn slipping in and out of hypnosis, he astutely manages to create tension in the scenes. But the weakest issue in the script is the antagonist's motive. It does not come out strong to make the narrative compelling.

With her face drawn and resolute Kate Siegel as Jenn, gives an honest, often moving performance. It is because of her that you invest in the character. Jason O'Mara, as the slick Dr. Meade is charming but not impressive. The rest of the supporting cast are just perfunctory to take the narrative forward.

Overall, though the film is paced, like a thriller, it ultimately emerges as a haunting exploration of how grief can weigh on us and the depths to which it can drive us.



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