Title: Hipnos
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Starring: Cristina Brondo, Demián Bichir, Marisol Membrillo
Director: David Carreras
Language: Spanish

Another Spanish film made for TV (though not from the same package as the last couple), a trend which not only seems to be growing over there but seems to be coming up with some interesting results and proving that there is still creativity left in the genre, and that the right director with the right idea and trump anything Hollywood has to throw at it. Hipnos, however, isn't. The plot which revolves around the young new doctor given the opportunity to work at a prestigious sanatorium, but whilst investigating her patients a number of strange events seem to occur. Patients aren't what they seem and are capable of knowing what they shouldn't be able to know; the doctors seem to be putting patients under hypnosis so as to convince them to commit suicide, and as our young protagonist delves deeper into the dark mysteries the institute harbours, she becomes determined to unravel the secrets it holds.

To my count there were two shower scenes, a bath scene, two sex scenes and two scenes of her swimming in a pool. In ninety minutes. As beautiful as she is, I do get the impression that she wasn't a distraction for the director, who I can imagine casually announcing “I think we need to get her kit off again” to rapturous applause from the rest of the guys on set who spend far too much time looking at internet porn. Instead what he should have been more focussed on is the plot – which I'll get to later – and the tension of the scenes themselves; that slow, gradual build-up that constantly keeps you on edge that remains painfully absent. It barely feels like a horror; as though showing a scene of her drop a glass only to have it magically re-appear is going to make me shake in my bed; that simply throwing a blue filter and making everything that isn't a painfully bright white room look like the lights weren't working properly will be enough. Which perhaps they weren't, they did seem to go out an awful lot.

The director is a big fan of integrated scene changes; rather than do a simple cut and move on, time will be spent zooming in on an animal only to zoom and show us somewhere else. Where used appropriately they can be a rather effective technique, but here its used all the time, whether necessary or not. Suddenly a wave of CGI water will come crashing down on our protagonist and she'll scream and then suddenly, she's swimming in that same water that's now filled the screen? It's not only jarring but nonsensical to include it; it leaves a bitter sense that the last scene hadn't truly ended and were already moving on, further confusing a story which is already intended to keep you in the dark. What begins as a fascinating insight into a sanatorium as you delve deeper into it's mysteries; the patients and their habits and uncanny predictions, knowing what they shouldn't be capable of knowing, it all becomes less interesting as we're constantly go around in circles until being dealt the unsatisfying answer.

The first twist at the end was a little predictable; I wont be giving too much away by saying that the “doctor was really a patient” idea has really been milked to death now and it's got to the point where it would be rare for this not to be the case, and it wasn't halfway through that I came to this conclusion and was proven right. This is (un)fortunately only half of the ending, with the real finish revealing precisely what happened to the child at the start of the film and tying up all the loose ends, which admittedly it does to an extent quite well. What it doesn't explain is all the details that occurred during the film; the characters that killed themselves, the events witnessed and seen, and more than an hours events completely nullified as nothing more than some sort of elaborate hallucination. There are key points that can be extracted that are worked beautifully in the context of the film, but they are nothing more than points; singular, specific, and not representative of the majority. This is film that looks like its trying to be the next “Sixth Sense,” but really it comes off closer to “Dynasty.” Carreras is simply out of his depth.


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