“Hypnotic” isn’t the first movie about hypnosis and murder. That would be “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” which hit theaters back in 1920.
And it’s not the worst, which has too many candidates to choose just one “winner.”
But while it intrigues and has just enough going to lure one in, it fails to startle, surprise or engage as it trots through every trope common to such thrillers, and reruns every bad line beaten to death by a thousand earlier unworthies from the School of Trite Screenplay cliches.
When a cop character says “Just WAIT for me,” the only response allowed is “We don’t have TIME.”
If the heroine calls her endangered friend with a begging “I need you TURN AROJND, go home and wait for me there,” such friends never do.
And this has to be my favorite, “the Miracle Eye-to-Eye Cure” for hemorrhaging gunshot wounds and such.
“Look at me look at me LOOK at me!”
It’s a medical miracle that works every time.
It begins with a frightened woman entering an elevator, getting an “unknown” call, and hearing the words “This is how the world ends.” Her worst elevator nightmare ensues. More nightmares will follow.
Jenn (Kate Siegel of “Hush” and a “Ouija” sequel) is drinking and biting her nails, depressed over a breakup with her fiance (Jaime M. Callica) and the reasons for that breakup. Then her bestie Gina (Lucie Guest) introduces her to her therapist at a dinner party.
Dr. Meade changed Gina’s life. Why not give him a try?
Jenn, a computer programmer, can’t help but notice the “therapist” at a patient’s party red flag.
“I follow the rules 99 percent of the time,” Dr. Meade purrs, “Maybe 95 percent.”
As he’s played by Irish actor Jason O’Mara, who voices Batman in all the DC cartoons, he’s forgiven. And eventually, Jenn finds herself in his posher-than-posh office, listening to his pitch. His “magic?” Hypnotherapy. She rolls her eyes.
“Why the judgement?”
But she submits, and as his soothing voice and the pulsing lights he’s set up in his office cast their spell, time flies by.
Soon, she’s got a new job and the “vortex of crap” that Gina used to describe her life seems over.
But she has these dreams, waking up in bed with Dr. Meade. She starts to wonder about “triggers,” even as she’s been reassured that “Only you can control your subconscious.”
Jenn snoops around on the Internet, reaches out to a cop (Dulé Hill of “Psych” and its offshoot movies) who handled the case of a mysterious death of one of Dr. Meade’s patients, and that’s when Jenn starts to “go through some things,” as we say these days.
The mystery isn’t mysterious enough. The threats are palpable but oh-so-predictable. But the manipulations are inventive enough to to pass muster.
If only the dialogue wasn’t so…sleep inducing.
Rating: TV-14, violence
Cast: Kate Siegel, Jason O’Mara, Dulé Hill, Jaime M. Callica and Lucie Guest
Credits: Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, scripted by Richard D’Ovidio. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:30