It’s “spooky season” and with Halloween just days away, Netflix released its new horror film Hypnotic (streaming Oct. 27), starring Kate Siegel (The Haunting of Hill House), Jason O'Mara (The Man in the High Castle), Dulé Hill (Psych), to put you in the psychological thriller mood.
Directed by Suzanne Coote and Matt Angel, who partnered on The Open House, Hypnotic’s lead character, software engineer Jenn Tompson (Siegel), is trying to cope with a breakup with her ex-fiance Brian (Jaime M. Callica) and a traumatic stillbirth. Jenn’s friend Gina (Lucie Guest) encourages her to go see therapist Dr. Collin Meade (O’Mara).
When Dr. Meade recommends hypnotherapy for Jenn, she’s initially reluctant, claiming that she does not like give away control.
“Only you can control your subconscious,” Dr. Meade replies, ultimately leading to Jenn agreeing to the hypnotherapy.
As expected, this hypnotherapy has dire consequences for Jenn and the people around her, which results in Jenn seeking out Detective Wade Rollins (Hill), who had previously questioned Dr. Meade’s practice, linked to a pattern of deaths of multiple women who were being treated by the therapist.
For Coote and Angel, the core of the film is grief and how that grief manifests in different people.
Lots of uncomfortable close ups, dim lighting, and a cold therapist’s office with red lights really adds to the horror ambiance of the movie, while it does fall flat if you’re looking for a movie that’s going to add something new and exciting to the genre. The movie isn’t completely void of twists but the story suffers from an overall predictability to the narrative.
Siegel is no stranger to the horror genre and certainly plays it well, while O'Mara definitely has the perfect tone for the creepy Dr. Meade, and Hill remains one of the most versatile actors in the business.
The directors revealed that some of their favourite scenes to film were between Jenn and Dr. Meade, because they loved seeing those to “spar” with each other.
Coote and Angel both even tried hypnotherapy before shooting Hypnotic, which Angel liked but Coote was not a fan.
In terms of inspirations for this movie, the directors looked to some iconic movies like Vertigo, The Game, Silence of the Lambs, Ex Machina and Fatal Attraction.
While Hypnotic may not end up getting to “iconic” status, it’s a decent choice to watch on Halloween, while you’re having fun with your friends, eating candy and getting a bit of a psychological scare, or if you're just looking for some new content featuring Hill, in advance of Psych 3: This Is Gus.