In the new Netflix movie Hypnotic, mind control is the name of the game. Horror legend Kate Siegel — whom you may know from The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, and Hush — plays Jenn, a woman who’s suffering from a recent loss and a breakup. On the advice of a friend, she goes to see Dr. Collin Meade (The Good Wife’s Jason O’Mara), who uses hypnotherapy to help his patients. Strange things start to happen, and Jenn starts to worry if she’s losing her mind — or if she’s being controlled by a sociopath.
Hypnotic keeps viewers guessing until that big, final reveal. So what happens, and what does it mean?
What happens in Hypnotic?
Jenn meets Dr. Meade at a dinner party, where her ex-fiancé, Brian, also happens to be a guest. She begins seeing Meade, and tells him about how she and Brian recently suffered a stillbirth, which led to her pulling away and isolating herself. Meade encourages her to pursue hypnotherapy, and later divulges that he himself recently lost his wife. Their work initially seems promising — Jenn starts leaving the house more often, cuts down on alcohol consumption, and gets a new job — but soon, strange things start happening. Jenn starts to lose time and “wake up” from her hours-long trances with no memory of where she’d been.
On day, as she’s on her way to talk things out with Brian over dinner, she gets a call (from Meade, we later learn) that causes her to go into a trance. She put sesame into their food; Brian, who’s allergic to sesame, has a reaction and falls into a coma. After this, Jenn becomes suspicious of Meade, and starts to look into the doctor’s history with the help of investigator Rollins (Psych’s Dulé Hill).
She learns that Meade has a type: Women he’s worked with on hypnotherapy tend to be pretty brunettes with deep phobias, and a bunch of them have died under mysterious circumstances. She also starts having visions of her in bed with Meade, and begins to worry that she’s being taken advantage of. Jenn seeks help from another hypnotherapist, who’s unable to break the control Meade has over her mind — but tries to add in hypnotic “counter-triggers” that will potentially fight Meade’s commands.
What’s with that ending?
Jenn goes looking for answers on her own — never a good idea — and ends up in the home Meade inherited from his father, a hypnotist who worked for the CIA. Meade is there, and he subdues Jenn and dresses her up like his former wife.
Jenn realizes that the visions she’s been having are actually Meade’s memories of his wife, which he’s implanted in Jenn’s brain. In essence, Meade is making Jenn his “new” wife, memories and all, because the two women look and sound alike. (Jenn, it turns out, hasn’t been forced to sleep with Meade, but it’s implied that’s what Meade’s planning. And he’s tried this before with a bunch of other women, but believes Jenn is “perfect,” saying she even smells like his old wife.)
Rollins comes speeding to the rescue, and it looks like Jenn shoots Meade, and all is well. But, surprise, she actually shot Rollins in the shoulder, and Meade is still controlling her. Thanks to the other hypnotherapist’s countermeasures, though, she resists his control, gets away, and finally shoots Meade dead. Rollins recovers, and Jenn gets to resume her life, free from any malicious mind control.