The mere thought that someone can get inside your mind and control your body is scary enough. Based on a similar theme, Netflix’s psychological thriller film, Hypnotic, depicts an insane psychiatrist who controls a woman’s mind and pulls the strings for his own personal motives.
Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, “Hypnotic” gives a short lesson on hypnotherapy. It underlines how modern science inventions can lead to destruction if they fall into the wrong hands. Like all Netflix’s thrillers, Hypnotic keeps you hooked with a riveting end. Let’s find out more.
‘Hypnotic’ Plot Summary
A prologue sequence pictures an American woman, Andrea Bowen, inside her office cabin late at night. Andrea is agitated and believes someone is watching her. In a panic, she calls Detective Wade Rollins and enters the lift. Inside the lift, Andrea gets a call from an unknown number. Andrea answers the phone, and her behavior changes as soon as she hears the words, “This is how the world ends.” She imagines that the lift walls are going to smash into her, and the screen fades out without revealing her fate.
Three months later, another woman, Jennifer “Jenn” Tompson (Kate Siegel), arrives at her friend Gina Kelman’s house. Gina and her husband, Scott, are throwing a party in their new house and have invited Jenn and her ex-fiance, Brian Rawley (Jaime M. Callica). Jenn tries to avoid Brian, and Gina observes an underlying tension between them. Gina tries to help Jenn and introduces her to her psychiatrist/therapist, Dr. Collin Meade (Jason O’Mara), a charming man who even hangs out with his clients.
After the party, Brian asks a heavily drunk Jenn to drop her off at home. The ex-couple end up sleeping together, and Jenn regrets it later. Gina again suggests to Jenn see Dr. Meade, who may help Jenn get her life back on track.
Jenn finally decides to visit Meade’s office. She shares her traumatic experience about how she lost a stillborn baby, Daniel, and since then, her life has been in complete disarray. Dr. Meade suggested hypnotherapy to deal with the trauma. Hesitantly, Jenn agrees, and in 3 months, her life changes for good. However, Jenn quickly finds out that the man in the white robe is not who he seems to be.
What happened to Brian Rawley?
After three months of hypnosis sessions, Jenn started feeling better and missed her appointments with Meade. The charming therapist missed Jenn and approached her in a mall. He invited Jenn for a cup of coffee and, during the conversation, convinced her to see her ex-fiancé, Brian. Jenn agreed and visited a department store, and while parking her car, she got a call from an unknown number. The voice triggered action in Jenn, who woke up and found herself inside her house. She found Brian fainted in the bathroom, and blood was spilled near his body.
The beginning sequence established that Brian was allergic to sesame, and the seeds or the oil could lead to an anaphylactic shock. Jenn blamed herself for the accident, as she believed that she accidentally mixed sesame oil in Brian’s food. However, what troubled her was that she couldn’t remember why and how she mixed it.
Fortunately, Jenn saved Brian’s life. He was hospitalized and, probably due to the traumatic reaction, went into a coma. A grieving Jenn visited him daily at the hospital.
What happened to Andrea Bowen?
Andrea’s name didn’t turn up in the film until Jenn started investigating Dr. Collin Meade. She saw Andrea’s name in one of the media reports.
While cleaning, Jenn found a store receipt and a hidden sesame oil bottle in her kitchen. She got a glimpse of what happened that night. Jenn remembered getting a call from an unknown number and hearing the words, “carry the fire” from Meade.
Jenn searched Collin Meade on the internet and found a media report about Andrea Bowen, a Portland woman who died mysteriously. According to the Portland Police record, Andrea had filed a restraining order on her psychiatrist, Dr. Collin Meade, three days before her death. However, the study into crimes committed while under hypnosis was new to the state criminal court; hence, no charges were made against Meade.
Jenn told Gina that just like her, even Andrea experienced missing time before her death. In Jenn’s case, the missing time happened right after Jenn had lunch with Dr. Meade. Believing her instinct, Jenn made a background check and found out that there were no official documents under Meade’s name, and six months ago, he was a complete ghost.
Gina and Jenn met Detective Wade Rollins, the investigating officer of Andrea Bowen’s death case. Wade informed them that Andrea had died of a heart attack. Her behavior inside the lift changed drastically as she picked up an incoming call from an unknown number. Andrea was claustrophobic, and maybe in her conscious mind, she felt an intense fear of lift walls closing in, which led to heart failure. Thus, Wade warned Gina and Jenn to stay away from Meade for their safety.
Who was Dr. Collin Meade?
Wade took out Meade’s patient files to investigate the man and found a pattern between his patients. Meade only treated female patients with hypnosis. However, three dead women who were Meade’s patients caught Wade’s attention. He discovered that Lillian Dorsey, Andrea Bowen, and Mona Szohr looked alike and had an uncanny resemblance with Jenn Tompson. Wade surmised that Meade only used hypnosis on women who shared some physical characteristics, as he was obsessed with an identity.
However, before Wade and Jenn could understand Meade’s motive, he created a devastating diversion. Meade used hypnosis on Gina Kelman, who had arachnophobia, fear of spiders. He triggered an accident that led to the death of Gina and her husband, Scott. Later, Meade sent one of his patients to kill Wade. Though Wade survived the attack, he suffered fatal injuries and had to be hospitalized.
Jenn visited another psychotherapist, Dr. Stella Graham, to collect her memories of hypnotherapy with Meade. But when Stella tried to enter Jenn’s mind, Jenn suffered a sudden anxiety attack. While Stella tried to wake up Jenn, in her subconscious mind, Jenn heard Meade talking about his mentor, Dr. Xavier Sullivan. Jenn imagined Sullivan’s house, 1010 Haven, and a dinner date with Meade, during which he gave Jenn a gold bracelet engraved with the date “March 6.”
Jenn visited Xavier Sullivan’s house at 1010 Haven, where Meade was already waiting for her. Meade revealed to Jenn that he was Sullivan’s son. On the other side, Wade got reports of Meade’s fingerprints, and the forensic informed him that it belonged to a man named Jullian Sullivan. In the end, it was duly explained that Dr. Collin Meade was a fake identity used by Jullian Sullivan, the son of the hypnotist, Dr. Xavier Sullivan.
What did Jullian Sullivan want?
Dr. Xavier Sullivan worked on a CIA project called Project MKUltra in the 1960s. According to Wade, the CIA hired Xavier to use hypnosis to plant false memories in people. His son and disciple, Jullian/Meade, used the same technique on Jenn and other women who looked similar. Why?
Meade talked about his beloved wife, Amy, who died. The tragic loss left a gap in Meade’s life, and he struggled to fill the void. Meade used his hypnosis ability on women who looked like Amy. It was why he captured the minds of Jenn, Lillian Dorsey, Andrea Bowen, and Mona Szohr.
While the other three women weren’t perfect, in Jenn, Meade found a scent that reminded him of Amy. Hence, he didn’t kill Jenn and slowly put his memories of Amy inside Jenn’s mind. Meade used the power of hypnosis to create a whole new reality, identity, and life for Jenn. He waited for the perfect date, i.e., “March 6” (the anniversary date of Meade and Amy), to execute his plan. Jenn struggled to escape, but Meade had complete control over her mind.
‘Hypnotic’ Ending Explained
During the hypnosis sessions, Meade planted hypnotic suggestions in Jenn’s mind that allowed him to control Jenn’s body and mind. Stella tried to remove these post-hypnotic suggestions but failed as Meade had orchestrated some fail-safe triggers inside her head. However, to help Jenn, Stella planted a counter trigger that finally saved her life in the end.
Wade arrived at 1010 Haven to save Jenn’s life. Meade quickly trapped Jenn in the bedroom while the two men entered into a fight in the drawing-room. Jenn tried to take over her mind and came out when Meade sent another suggestion and put Jenn to sleep. Jenn struggled against Meade’s command and picked up Wade’s gun. She pulled the trigger and believed she shot Meade. Jenn woke up and saw Wade sitting beside her and comforting her. Wade used the phrase “my love,” which Meade frequently used. It explained to Jenn that Meade was still inside her head and she was hallucinating. But she already had a counter trigger for saving her this time.
As soon as Jenn heard the words, “my love,” Stella’s counter trigger compelled Jenn to ignore all commands from Meade. She woke up and hit Meade with a plate. Jenn ran towards Wade and pulled out a gun from his ankle pocket. At the end of Hypnotic, Jade shot Dr. Collin Meade twice, killing the monster. Jenn even saved Detective Wade Rollins’ life.
A month later, Jenn started a new life with a new job in a company trying to be happy, as she always wanted to. She visited Brian, who was still in a coma but was recovering. Jenn made peace with her trauma and accepted the loss of her stillborn child, Daniel. She promised Brian to re-construct their relationship and start a family again.
In the end, Jenn visited Wade Rollins, who got a promotion for solving the hypnosis murder cases. As a token of appreciation, Wade gave Jenn a gift, a CD of self-hypnosis that would help her learn the tricks of better and relaxed sleep, all by herself. She wouldn’t have to revisit an insane hypnotherapist again. The film ended on a happy note.
Hypnotic is a 2021 psychological thriller film directed by Matt Angeland-Suzanne Coote. The film written by Richard D’Ovidio is streaming on Netflix.