Exploiting the same menace in everyday life and artifacts as the hit series “The Ring,” Masayuki Ochiai’s “Hypnosis” is a quality entry in the current spate of Japanese supernatural thrillers sweeping East Asian markets. A natural for fantasy events, and with ancillary potential elsewhere, this well-tooled slice of hokum is way superior to TV vet Ochiai’s debut horrorfest, “Parasite Eve” ( 1997).
When a groom garrotes himself at his wedding, an aged man throws himself through a window and an athlete runs till her leg fractures, grumpy cop Sakurai (Ken Utsui) is paired with young psychologist Saga (popular Goro Inagaki) to solve the mystery. All the victims’ last words were “The green monkey is coming!” and Saga reckons the deaths are connected with a TV hypnotist, one of whose subjects is the mysterious Yuka (Miho Kanno). As suicides continue, Saga needs to find the trigger for them — leading to a well-mounted, Hitchcockian set piece centered on a performance on Dvorak’s “New World” symphony. Carefully shot, with much wry humor, pic cleverly suggests that, in a society bombarded with visual and aural stimuli, everyone is in fact “hypnotized” and programmed to respond.