Lost in Hong Kong’s Xu Zheng and Hong Kong actress/singer Karen Mok find themselves embroiled in a potentially deadly game of wits in this thriller from director Leste Chen.

Xu Ruining is a renowned hypnotherapist who will go to great lengths, including tapping into the minds of his patients, to make sure they are cured. After a lecture, he is met by his mentor, Professor Fang. She asks him for his help with a new patient named Ren Xiaoyan, who has been seeing dead people. At first, Xu is a bit reluctant, but eventually decides on taking the case because quite frankly, he may be the only one capable of curing Miss Ren.

When Miss Ren arrives, Xu starts to learn he is in for a long haul. Ren somehow begins to play a game of wits with Xu. As he asks the questions, she responds in a manner that he never expected from an ordinary patient. Xu decides to go to the extreme and use hypnotherapy to tap into the mind of Ren, whose reasons for seeing dead people, begin to become known. However, as Ren’s mind is being tapped into and Xu still wonders why Ren is seeing the dead, some dark secrets are bound to be uncovered. Will Xu have what it takes to finally cure Ren of her problem?

After seeing Xu Zheng in the comedy Lost in Hong Kong, it is interesting to see him on the opposite side of the spectrum in a more serious role. Co-writer and director Leste Chen emulates elements from the hit film The Sixth Sense with this tale of a renowned hypnotherapist who may have found his greatest challenge yet. The film’s opening seems like a horror film and it is when we see Xu that we learn who his character is. It seems very mind-blowing at times, but Xu really performs well as Ruining as someone who clearly takes his job seriously, even when he is questioned by students at a lecture.

Karen Mok is exciting to watch as Ren Xiaoyan, the patient who matches wits with Ruining. She sees dead people but when questioned why, she responds “it’s not the reason why I see them”. It is through hypnotherapy we see inside Mok’s mind as a mind trip where we slowly learn about her life and how it affects the issues she is having. What’s even more interesting is just as we are seeing the core of Ren’s issues, she somehow reverts back to her actions upon meeting Xu, which makes one question what the deal is with Ren.

It is by the third act, comes a shocking twist of things that rival that of the twist of The Sixth Sense. I won’t reveal either that twist for people who have not seen it, nor this film, but upon seeing the film, it is very jaw dropping. The viewer can take many guesses, but chances are the twist may not be what they think. However, this proves to be not only jaw-dropping, but the upside is, it makes the film very very good by the film’s end.

The Great Hypnotist is an exciting thriller that is driven not only by Xu Zheng and Karen Mok, but delivers a shocking twist that just makes this film even better than expected.


A Wanda Media Co. production. Director: Leste Chen. Producers: Xu Zheng, Abe Kwong, and Cary Cheng. Writers: Leste Chen and Endrix Ren. Cinematography: Charlie Lam. Editor: Yang Hongyu.

Cast: Xu Zheng, Karen Mok, Lu Zhong, David Wang, Hu Jing.