This was simultaneously psychologically thrilling & eye-rolling worthy…
Feel free to watch my summarized video review by Clicking Here
Why It Was Psychologically Thrilling:
A great number of hypnotic topics were utilized throughout the movie for the family’s personal gain. While I can’t say everything the movie showed was accurate (after all it’s Hollywood and they simply need to make a buck off entertaining you), I can say a great amount has truth to it.
- Conditioning – While it may have been noticeable to some who watch the movie, I immediately caught on. When the mother tapped her spoon against her glass of tea while everyone sat talking out back, she was conditioning the main character. This would later become a trigger and I thought it was a pretty neat thing to include though I’m sure most didn’t catch on (at least not until near the end).
- Covert Induction – When inducing someone, hypnotists generally instruct the person to close their eyes, focus on their breathing, etc..not here…just a simple circling of the woman’s spoon in her tea over and over while having the main character re-imagine the details of an emotionally rough time, all to get him into a trance. To those wondering, covert techniques are used on a daily basis with marketers, salesmen, authority figures (President Obama was noted for utilizing quite a bit of NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming which is a technique used by many hypnotists)), etc.
- The Command – How Hollywood depicts the process of how someone feels being hypnotized is often interested, in this case the woman demands the character to “Sink” and before our eyes he finds himself sinking into a black abyss within himself only able to look through his eyes like a spectator watching a car wreck through their window. This was certainly an eye-rolling moment for me as no one I’ve hypnotized in 6+ years (that I’m aware of) has ever experienced this. Complete mental/physical relaxation that makes them want to not “wake up” – yes, falling into a black abyss? Not so much.
- Amnesia – It is in fact possible (often recommended by hypnotherapy trainers) to induce amnesia onto a client. While it’s used to make people forget their name, age and other things for comedy stage/street hypnosis, it’s a useful in hypnotherapy to ensure the client doesn’t over-analyze the session. Thus, this is totally possible and even better it worked for the main character (yay for no more cancer sticks)!
- Mass Hypnosis – This is possible in two ways. First, literally get a huge group of people together and (likely) implement covert techniques to simultaneously hypnotize each person in the crowd. Second (and the way the path the movie went), bring people in and personally hypnotize them one by one. I’d also like to note that I assume during these one-on-one sessions that the mother is further embedding the spoon tap method into the person’s subconscious (where all our habits, triggers, etc lie).
- Trigger – Just like the spoon tap becomes the anchor for an instant induction technique used by the mother throughout the movie, there are often triggers that can bring people out of hypnosis just as easily as it can “welcome them in”. In the movie’s case (not yet fully sure why at the time of writing this), it seems that a quick flash of light (such as from a camera) will momentarily bring the hypnotized subject out of trance. In turn, each character this happens to immediately breaks down emotionally and usually cries. Reason being…you find out later in the movie.
- Complete Control – This is what most think hypnosis has the power to do but seeing as we all have free will (and given the above term explanation in correlation to the movie), it’s highly unlikely. That said, there are some organizations that supposedly utilize similar techniques to the ones I’m discussing to brainwash their followers (i.e. Scientology). So, I suppose if you’re highly suggestible (or maybe just gullible), you can be easily be taken complete [mental] control of…that’s a scary thought though…moving on.
My Personal Review (given then above information):
As mentioned in the beginning, most of these topics hold true within the hypnosis community. The difference being the extent to which the movie tried to take them wasn’t always accurate (such as when the mother taps the glass and the main character just falls, possible but unlikely).
Still, it was super neat to be able to quickly catch on to each character’s actions/reactions in certain situations and understand the underlying reason why (before most in the theater). It does need to be noted, however, that this is a very unlikely scenario and I feel any rational person would have either left if they didn’t feel comfortable or, at the very least, brought it up to their significant other’s parents. But wait, it wouldn’t have mattered….why you ask…you have to see it to understand 😉
One thing that may seem a bit out-in-left-field to some was the comment the girlfriend’s brother made about her boyfriend’s genetic frame and how he would’ve been good at Jujitsu. Later on, when the movie begins explaining why they really hypnotize people, I believe that men like the main character are chosen because of their body structure. After all, this is hinted at a number of times when he meets the guests that arrive to the house later on.
That said, I’ll simply state that yes, many of the reports/reviews you may have heard are true, there’s a number of references to the African American culture. However, as covered in the above paragraph, I believe the reason why lies behind the genetic makeup of the main character which (again relating to the above paragraph) correlates to the reason they end up hypnotizing him.
Overall, I have to give the movie 4/5 stars as it was a creative concept despite catching on early (conspiracy theorists would have a field day with this one I imagine). The execution of the process was interesting though I doubt it would work on most in the real-world. It was certainly entertaining as well as a good reason to roll my eyes at Hollywood again at times. It was neat hearing the couple in front of me saying “This is trippy” to know they both enjoyed it and likely assumed it wasn’t all accurate.
Remember to leave a comment below to let me know if you found this informational, if you agree/disagree but more importantly, what you’d like me to teach in the future!
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