Why Jenn From Hypnotic Looks So Familiar
“Hypnotic” is the mind-bending Netflix psychological thriller in which a woman’s worst enemy is all too familiar: her own consciousness. Kate Siegel plays Jenn, an unemployed woman who suffers from general anxiety. On the advice of a friend, she visits a mysterious therapist named Dr. Meade (Jason O’Mara), who specializes in hypnotherapy. After a few visits to “unlock” her mind, Jenn begins experiencing disturbing and violent visions that make her think she’s not fully in control of herself anymore. Did unlocking her mind give Dr. Meade the key to controlling her and making her commit heinous acts? Based on the trailer, it seems like something even more nefarious might be going on.
“Hypnotic” is written by Richard D’Ovidio along with Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, who also direct (via Variety), and it premieres on the streaming service on October 27, 2021 (via Netflix on YouTube). If you’re reading this, chances are you’re wondering why Kate Siegel looks familiar to you. If you’re a fan of horror movies, especially on Netflix, there’s a good chance you recognize her from one of the following roles.
She was one of the ghosts in Oculus
Kate Siegel is most well-known for her frequent collaborations with her husband, Mike Flanagan. Their first project together materialized when Flanagan cast Siegel in his 2012 supernatural thriller “Oculus,” about a killer mirror. Siegel plays Marisol Chavez, the seductive ghost and one of the many people the mirror has doomed.
As she told Entertainment Weekly, Siegel was a replacement for another actress who dropped out. Flanagan admitted that Marisol is an important yet “thankless” role, and promised to keep Siegel in mind for future projects — a promise he would end up keeping many times over.
In her most memorable scene in “Oculus,” she wraps her arms around one of the movie’s protagonists, Tim (Brenton Thwaites). “If you notice her arms, we turned her hands out the opposite way so it looked like a mirror reflection,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “When I was talking about what I wanted to do at the end there, I was referencing the curlicues of the mirror. I said, ‘I guess I want my arm to be like snaking around him.’ And they were like, ‘Snakey arm!’ I guess it just stuck.”
She played the deaf heroine in Hush
One of the more inventive horror movies in recent years is “Hush,” Flanagan and Siegel’s thriller about a deaf and mute woman who’s menaced by a masked psychopath with a crossbow (John Gallagher Jr.). Siegel, who co-wrote the film with Flanagan, plays the main character Maddy, who has to use her wits to turn the tables on her tormentor.
Maddy’s lack of hearing makes her feel even more isolated and trapped than a typical horror movie protagonist. Without much dialogue, the film has to rely on its sound design to create tension, which was Siegel and Flanagan’s goal. Overall, this gives “Hush” a unique feel compared with your average slasher movie.
While playing a deaf character was no doubt a challenge, for Siegel, the hardest parts were the stunts. In one memorable scene, the killer repeatedly slams Maddy’s hand in a door, severely breaking it. As Siegel explained to Bloody Disgusting, this scene was only faked to a degree. “I had to get my hand slammed in the door multiple times from multiple angles. I thought it meant ‘Oh I’ll be fine I won’t hurt at all.’ No, it just means they safely slam your hand in a door.” This required more than 12 takes to get right. Then, for the rest of the movie Siegel had to film with her hand in a mangled prosthetic, forcing her to rely on her non-dominant hand. All in all, it’s a memorable performance.
Since “Hush,” Siegel and Flanagan have worked together on several more projects.
She often collaborates with her husband, Mike Flanagan
After “Hush,” Siegel and Flanagan have gone on to work together on three hit Netflix horror series (and counting). First up was the Netflix anthology series, “The Haunting of Hill House” (2018), in which Siegel plays the adult version of Theo Crane, the troubled member of the Crane family who suffers from an over-sensitivity to touch.
Siegel has a smaller role in Season 2, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” in which she appears as Viola Willoughby-Lloyd, the original owner of Bly Manor who drowned herself in the pond and appears as a ghost in present day.
Most recently, Siegel was part of the main cast of “Midnight Mass,” the series about the small island community off the coast of Washington State that’s attacked by a vampire. Siegel plays Erin Greene, the former childhood sweetheart of main character Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford).
As she told Entertainment Weekly, Siegel usually plays “a lot of sharp women,” who “tend to be sarcastic or prickly,” which is becoming her signature — much like Jenn in “Hypnotic.” Ironically, while “Hypnotic” might seem like a quintessential Siegel-Flanagan project, it’s one of her first projects in years that wasn’t a collaboration with her husband.