If it was the late 90s or even the early 2000s and a movie was announced teaming Ben Affleck with Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty), I would be jumping up and down with excitement. Even now, the teaming of these two has potential for an especially memorable action flick, or genre-bending sci-fi extravaganza. Instead, Hypnotic ends up feeling like a D-grade version of Inception, destined for the Walmart dollar bin. Featuring a high-concept premise and a relatively good cast and director, why exactly does Hypnotic emerge so mind-numbingly dull?
Daughter Minnie (Hala Finley) has been kidnapped at a playground out in the open, and Austin detective Danny (Affleck) wants answers. Not even therapy can help calm his understandably frazzled nerves—the girl somehow vanished in the middle of a sea of people. Where did she go? Is she even still alive? An anonymous tip rolls in involving a safety deposit that leads Danny into a web of convoluted conspiracy theories, bizarre unexplainable occurrences, lots of guns, and reality-shifting curiosities, Danny must somehow learn to decipher what reality even is anymore. A polaroid of his daughter acts as his sole clue. Danny’s partner, Nick (JD Pardo), seems trustworthy enough, but can Danny believe anything around him?
Diana (Alice Braga), a psychic and self-proclaimed “hypnotic,” may present the closest Danny comes to getting answers and finding Minnie. As the creepy Dellrayne (William Fichtner) lurks always one step ahead, Diana teams up with Danny. She fills him in on his strange new existence: “hypnotics,” or people with the ability to influence one’s brain over a psychic bandwidth, have it out for him. They can reshape reality, forcing the unsuspecting victim to see a version of the world that doesn’t actually exist. On the run together, Diana and Danny race against the clock to find his daughter and defeat Dellrayne once and for all.
A preposterous script seems to wildly misunderstand the material, whilst the absence of any big action set pieces or fun sci-fi quirkiness bring down Hypnotic several notches. I am not sure who told Rodriguez that audiences are clamoring for a mix of Minority Report and Inception, but this simply is not the case. The final act is so bad it renders the movie nearly unwatchable, which is truly a shame considering how committed Ben Affleck remains to his detective schtick. Despite having a stellar music score, Hypnotic seems beamed in from another decade and better left forgotten in a memory wipe.
Hypnotic attempts to shift reality when it debuts exclusively in limited release theaters on Friday, May 12th.