The Great Hypnotist (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 3, 2016 by  


“The Great Hypnotist” is a wonderful Chinese mystery-thriller that has you thinking one way, until the film pulls of major twists that will either surprise you or turn you off. It’s unexpected, but I felt the sudden twists in the storyline made this film much more enjoyable. “The Great Hypnotists” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Wanda Media Co. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Great Hypnotist


DURATION: 102 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment


AVAILABLE ON: April 5, 2016

Directed by Leste Chen

Written by Ren Peng

Executive Produced by Zheng Xu


Zheng Xu as Xu Ruining

Karen Mok as Ren Xiaoyan/Gu Jie

Jing Hu as Chen Ting

Zhong Lu as Pro Fang

David Yao-Qing Wang as Luo Yusong

Xu Ruining (Xu Zheng), a nationally renowned therapist incredibly skilled in hypnotherapy. But when his career takes off, he meets a patient named Ren Xiaoyan (Karen Mok) who brings him a complex problem. Xu Ruining discovers that with this particular case, the struggle between the doctor and the patient is not as easy as he expected. Despite her thin and weak appearance, Ren Xiaoyan always reacts violently to any problems with Xu Ruining. He wonders what exactly makes her closed-off to everyone. Is it from a painful memory in her childhood or the ring mark still visible on her middle finger? While sparing no efforts to figure out what has happened, he finds himself falling into a horrible trap…


From Leste Chen, the director of “The Heirloom” and “Eternal Summer” comes the 2014 Chinese mystery thriller, “The Great Hypnotist”.

Starring actor Zheng Xu (“Lost in Thailand”, “No Man’s Land”, “Lost in Hong Kong”) and actress Karen Mok (“Shaolin Soccer”, “Man of Tai Chi”, “Around the World in 80 Days”, “Fallen Angels”), “The Great Hypnotist” would earn over $44 million (US) at the Chinese Box Office and earned a total of $45.6 million (US) internationally.

And now, “The Great Hypnotist” will be released on DVD courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.

“The Great Hypnotist” begins with an introduction to Dr. Xu Ruining (portrayed by Zheng Xu), who psychiatrist who treats his patients through hypnotism.

His former Academic Professor, Professor Fang (portrayed by Zhong Lu) asks for his help with a patient named Ren Xiaoyan (portrayed by Karen Mok), a patient who has stumped many psychiatrists.

As a favor, Dr. Ruining takes on the patient.  As he meets Ren, he realizes that the things she talks about is not normal.  She claims that she can talk to dead people, which Dr. Ruining refuses to believe in and feels that perhaps she is a mental case.

Through hypnotism, he tries to find out why she thinks she can talk to ghosts, but Ren is just as defiant to ask why he doesn’t believe her.

But through his analysis of trying to treat Ren, he starts to find himself in unusual territory.  What if Ren is telling the truth?



“The Great Hypnotist” is presented in 16:9 widescreen and Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good on DVD. But I wish this film was released on Blu-ray.  The film features good use of CG and visual effects, which work well for the film’s storyline.  Audio is crystal clear with action scenes utilizing the film’s rear surround channels effectively.

Subtitles are in English.


“The Great Hypnotist” comes with a theatrical trailer.


A little mix of “The Sixth Sense”, in truth, what you are expecting to happen in this film, doesn’t happen because there is a significant twist that sends the film to a whole new direction.

Quite often that diverting path for a film can be scrutinized and may work against the film’s storyline, but for Leste Chen’s mystery thriller, it works very well!

The film revolves around the battle of different perspectives as Dr. Ruining is a man who proves everything by fact and there is a reason for a patient having certain afflictions.  But the character of Ren is adamant that she is not crazy and she can see dead people and tries to explain to Dr. Ruining of the experience she has had.

While similar to “The Sixth Sense”, because of the strict Chinese film bureau on supernatural themes onscreen, Chinese films can’t show horror like other countries.

But without spoiling the film, viewers are given two significant twists that literally cancels everything a viewer has watched for the first hour of the film and while one can see it as a bad thing, in the context of the film’s storyline, who the characters represent and why, I happen to find the storyline to be clever.

Also, I enjoyed the film for having this battle of perspectives between Dr. Ruining and Ren.  Actor Zheng Xu has no doubt become the popular actor to come from China, while Hong Kong singer/actress Karen Mok, who has won us over with many of her past films in the ’90s and 2000’s, returns in a wonderful role for her to showcase her emotion portrayal and a reminder of why she has won multiple awards in the past for her acting.

Both do a wonderful job working with each other, as the camera focuses on these two characters primarily.  But while most of the film is shot in Dr. Ruining’s office, there is a good use of editing and visual effects to dig into the psyche of a character and literally taking them to another world or alternate reality.

While I wish the film was released on Blu-ray instead of DVD, the DVD is as good as one can expect on DVD.  Picture quality is good, lossless audio showcase the more action-driven scenes through the rear surround channels.  And unfortunately, the DVD is barebones with no special features but a theatrical trailer.

Overall, “The Great Hypnotist” is a wonderful Chinese mystery-thriller that has you thinking one way, until the film pulls of major twists that will either surprise you or turn you off.  It’s unexpected, but I felt the sudden twists in the storyline made this film much more enjoyable.

“The Great Hypnotists” is recommended!

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