Skip to main content

Hypnotic’s ending, explained

A man talks to a woman in Hypnotic.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Warning: this article contains major spoilers for Hypnotic (2023).

Not everything is as it seems to be in Hypnotic.

That’s clear from the moment the film begins, but not many viewers will likely be able to predict just how many layers are actually hidden beneath the surface of Hypnotic’s story. While a majority of the film’s first act plays out like a fairly straightforward detective thriller with a sci-fi twist, the cracks in Hypnotic’s façade start to appear the moment that Danny Rourke (Air‘s Ben Affleck) discovers he has the same kind of powers as both Diana Cruz (Alice Braga) and Dellrayne (William Fichtner), the mysterious man he’s become obsessed with tracking down and catching.

In the minutes that follow, Danny and Diana not only sleep together, but he realizes that she is, in fact, his wife. In case that wasn’t enough, Danny also deduces that his missing daughter, Minnie (Hala Finley), is actually his and Diana’s daughter. She wasn’t kidnapped, either. Instead, Danny realizes that he secretly hid Minnie away so that the government-sanctioned division of hypnotics that both he and Diana are members of wouldn’t be able to take her away and train her to use her formidable psychic powers for evil purposes. Danny discovers all of this while also realizing, much to his dismay, that nothing that happened in the first two-thirds of Hypnotic was actually real.

Ben Affleck holds up a photograph in Hypnotic.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s revealed at the end of Hypnotic’s second act that the events of the film were all part of a construct to trick Danny into revealing Minnie’s secret location to the bad guys. Viewers learn that Diana, Dellrayne, and J.D. Pardo’s Nicks are all members of the same division and that they, along with the rest of the faction’s members, came together to put on a Hollywood-esque production that would make Danny buy into his fake reality. Affleck’s Danny is also told by Fichtner’s Dellrayne, who is actually the division’s director, that they’ve already run him through the same simulation 12 times.

Unfortunately for them, when they try to reset Danny’s mind and make him relive the simulation again, he ultimately manages to break free. With the division hot on his trail, Danny tracks down his foster parents on their remote farm and reunites with his daughter, Minnie, for the first time in four years. Moments later, when the division attempts to take Minnie by force, she and her father combine their hypnotic powers to wipe out nearly all of their pursuers. At the same time, Danny and Minnie reveal to Diana that she is not, in fact, an actively evil member of Hypnotic’s nefarious division.

Minnie unlocks Diana’s psychic block so that she remembers how she and Danny conspired together to reset their own memories years prior so that the division wouldn’t be able to use them to find Minnie. In the wake of this revelation, Diana embraces her husband and daughter and the happy family subsequently walks off into the sunset together.

William Fichtner holds up a lighter in Hypnotic.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a mid-credits scene, it’s revealed that Fichtner’s division director, who viewers previously saw shoot himself in the chest at Minnie’s mental behest, is not actually dead. Instead, viewers learn that the villainous hypnotic used a mental construct of his own to trick Minnie into believing he was someone else — namely, Danny’s foster father. Hypnotic then cuts to black for the last time on the image of Fichtner’s director walking away from the site of the film’s final battle with fiery vengeance in his eyes.

Hypnotic, in other words, purposefully sets the stage for a sequel. Whether or not another film ever comes to fruition remains to be seen. Odds are, the potential sequel’s fate will likely rest entirely on how well viewers receive Hypnotic‘s mind-bending, twisty third act. While opinions about the film will undoubtedly vary from viewer to viewer, too, the one thing that no one can say about Hypnotic is that it’s afraid to take risks. It may very well end up being one of the year’s most ambitious genre films, for better or worse.

Hypnotic is now playing in theaters.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live ending, explained
Rick standing outside the gates of the CRM in his uniform with his hands up in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

Fans have waited almost a year-and-a-half since The Walking Dead ended, longer since the character Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) left the show, to find out what happened to him.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live finally answers that question. It also follows Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) journey to find him and wraps the story up with a nice, neat bow in the final episode.
Rick and Michonne are ready to take down the CRM

Read more
Like Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire? Then watch these 3 movies right now
Godzilla and Kong race into battle in a still from Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.

Fans of monster movies have a lot to enjoy with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire thanks to its massive collection of giant monsters, known as Titans in the MonsterVerse franchise. With the return of Godzilla and King Kong, as well as newly introduced characters like Skar King and the young Suko, the new film puts the monsters front and center. The movie's stars even jokingly acknowledge that they're just supporting characters to the monsters, with Rebecca Hall telling AP, “They are the stars of the movie, we're just the scale." Her costar, Dan Stevens, added, "We’re just the sideshow."

Read more
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’s ending, explained
The Ghostbusters firehouse covered in ice in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024).

For Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace), Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is an exercise in both failure and redemption. After being barred from active Ghostbusters duty due to her age by the Mayor of New York, Walter Peck (William Atherton), Phoebe finds solace not in her relationships with her mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and her quasi-stepdad, Gary (Paul Rudd), but in her budding friendship/potential romance with Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), a ghost she meets playing chess in the park one night.

Read more