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‘Hypnotic’ review: Netflix thriller goes from silly fun to just silly

That’s not how hypnosis works.

Hypnotic is reminiscent of the action movies found at video rental stores. The premise is interesting if a little sketchy, the cast has some familiar names, and the box art is eye-catching. The latest release from Netflix is about a woman in a personal and professional rut named Jenn Tompson (Kate Siegel). When the doctor she is seeing (Jason O’Mara) suggests hypnosis, her life seems to change for the better. Of course, nothing is as it seems.

The movie gets off to a thrilling start that never really goes away. Even when the plot slows down, there is always a sense of intrigue. Hypnotic never tries to fool the audience into trying to guess who the villain is -for a movie about mind games, there are surprisingly few twists. Instead, it is a constant game of cat and mouse. The mystery segments tend to race by, but things stay engaging.

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This works for the majority of Hypnotic. Things are predictable, but that is part of the film’s charm. It is not so much whether Dr. Meade is the bad guy, but why is he doing it and for what reason. This is where things get a little dicey. As things race towards the final act, a subplot about a secret military experiment is mentioned for the first time. It is just as quickly forgotten. There is also a revelation about Dr. Meade’s past that has little impact. His explanation is standard evil mastermind material that means little in the grand scheme of things.

As silly as some of these things are, none of them negatively impact Hypnotic. It is when the full power of Dr. Meade is shown that things become a little more difficult to accept. Early on, hypnosis is seen in the more traditional sense. Someone is put in a trance that amounts to sleep. The subject is not sure what has happened. This is emphasized in the finale.

Somewhere along the line, Dr. Meade talent somehow morphs to full blown mutant ability. He can control people to do things against their will with just a word. It would be easier to suspend belief if the victim was not completely aware of their surroundings and struggling to fight against it. The lead up to the final confrontation includes some unintentionally funny moments. Everything culminates in a telegraphed finale that ties everything up a little too nicely.

Hypnotic premieres on Netflix October 27

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