The Monday Mystery Movie on May 1 felt a little different than the ones I’ve attended in the past. Sitting in the theater, engulfed in darkness — and riddled with excitement — I was startled when a deep voice erupted from the blackened theater.
It was soon revealed that the voice belonged to director Robert Rodriguez, who welcomed us to Monday Mystery Movie and introduced the title of his film: “Hypnotic.”
Goosebumps rose on my arms as rhythmic pounding bellowed through the theater until I was met eye to eye with, well, an actual eye.
Needless to say, it was my most anticipated Monday Mystery Movie yet.
“Hypnotic” is an upcoming action/mystery/thriller that follows police detective Danny Rourke (Ben Affleck) as he begins a mind-bending journey to find his missing daughter, all while trying to fight off a secret government agency.
In the movie, hypnotics are described as people who “have the ability to influence the brain” using sounds, their voice and eye contact. Hypnotics use their power to make others see things that aren’t really there, which poses a huge problem to Rourke and the innocent people around him.
From the very beginning, “Hypnotic” had me in a trance. The pacing, the flashbacks, the action — it all lured me in like perfect movie bait.
The first scene we see is Rourke in a therapy session recalling the day his daughter, Minnie, was kidnapped. While the kidnapper was found, his daughter hasn’t been, and it’s uncertain whether or not she’s dead or alive. On top of it all, the kidnapper claims he has absolutely no recollection of taking Minnie, or where she may be now.
After following a tip on a bank robbery, Rourke discovers his daughter’s disappearance may be a part of something bigger than he originally thought. In his attempts to dive deeper into both the robbery and the kidnapping, he meets Diana Cruz (Alice Braga) who helps him understand and navigate the world of hypnotics.
The action in this movie is superb because, thanks to the hypnotics, nothing is off the table. One scene depicted a character running through a complex landscape where you think they have the upperhand, until suddenly the sky is filled with the same landscape and the surroundings start to mush together like a changing maze.
It was a crazy scene to watch because up until that point, you thought the character was going to come out on top.
All throughout the film, I kept trying to analyze the clues and figure out what on Earth was happening. Every time I thought I was close, something new got thrown into the mix that had me questioning everything I thought I knew.
This is a movie that you shouldn’t even bother trying to predict, because the second you think you know what’s happening, you’ll get thrown for a loop — over and over again. This is part of the fun with “Hypnotic,” and its unpredictability keeps viewers in a trance, unable to look away from the events unfolding before them.
However, this strength also became the movie’s weakness. This film knew how to trick its viewers into believing a false reality, but they started to lean into that too much. Their trickery soon became redundant and I found myself begging for them to get to the point and show me the “big reveal.”
When you taunt your audiences by holding off the reveal, you risk the chance of them just getting annoyed — which was exactly my case. It got to the point where I sort of just stopped caring, so when the final reveal happened, I wasn’t excited in the slightest. But that didn’t deter me from enjoying the movie as a whole.
Despite the lack of a solid ending, everything else about the film was well executed and enjoyable. Better yet, I know this is a film I can come back and watch over and over because everytime you rewatch it, you’ll start to see things you didn’t notice the first time around.
“Hypnotic” isn’t an experience that stops once the movie is over either. As I walked out of the theater, I found myself questioning everything around me. Reality felt like an illusion and I was wondering: Did I ever actually leave the theater? Was I hypnotized during the movie?
That’s how lifelike “Hypnotic” was. The actors, screenwriters, director and special effects people all came together to create a mesmerizing movie that is sure to captivate you.
“Hypnotic” comes into theaters May 12, and if you like a good thought-provoking movie, this one’s for you.