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Hypnotic - Everything You Need To Know

Some people prefer their sci-fi with a bit of satire like "RoboCop." Others like it best when it's mixed with horror like "The Thing." Others prefer a good old-fashioned space opera like "Star Wars." But for our money, sci-fi is best when it gets really, really weird. We're talking trippy visions and mind-bending journeys — "Inception," "Primer," and "Possessor," to name a few. The more we're asking "WTF?" the more we're enjoying ourselves.

And it looks like we're about to get a heavy dose of sci-fi weirdness with "Hypnotic." A movie that's been percolating for two decades, the film is headed for theaters in the very near future, bringing along a beloved director, an A-list star, and a wild premise that'll keep you guessing and gasping. Variety has said the movie is "taking a page from 'The Matrix,' 'Limitless,' and 'Memento' — and whole chapters from sci-fi trickster Philip K. Dick," so if that piques your interest, read on for everything we know so far about "Hypnotic."

When will Hypnotic be released?

2023's South by Southwest (SXSW) was a blast for film fans, as they were treated to exciting titles like "Tetris" and "Evil Dead Rise." They were also surprised by a work-in-progress screening of "Hypnotic," with director Robert Rodriguez in attendance.

It's been a long and winding road for "Hypnotic," going from script to screen. Filming was shut down multiple times during the pandemic, and its main financial backer/distributor, Solstice Studios, actually fell apart along the way. Never one to back down from a challenge, Rodriguez figured things out on the fly, shooting the film on an "Alita: Battle Angel" set in his studio and finding a new distributor with Ketchup Entertainment.

Now, everything is moving in the right direction, and after its surprise screening at SXSW, it was announced "Hypnotic" would be hitting theater screens on May 12, 2023. Granted, that's pretty soon for a film that's still being worked on, but they don't make 'em any scrappier or more ambitious than Rodriguez, so we're sure he'll get the movie finished on time.

What is the plot of Hypnotic?

Blending elements of science fiction with film noir, "Hypnotic" will focus on a Detective Daniel Rourke, the kind of man who'll stop at nothing to crack a case. That's especially true when he stumbles across a bank robber who's also happens to be — you guessed it — a hypnotic. That's someone who can use psychic powers to influence people. That skill comes in pretty handy when you're trying to get away with stacks of cash. 

However, as Rourke pursues his powerful, psychic prey (and finds himself being hunted as well), he begins to realize that this trippy crime spree might be related to the mystery of his missing daughter, Minnie. In his quest to figure out what's actually going on, he joins forces with another hypnotic who may have her own motives in this mind-bending game. Needless to say, the further Rourke digs, the twistier and trippier things are going to get, and there might even be a government conspiracy at play too.

Who is starring in Hypnotic?

In the role of Detective Daniel Rourke — a man who gets himself drawn into a case involving psychic villains and his missing daughter — we've got the one and only Ben Affleck. 2023 promises to be a big year for the king of Boston, with the man directing and starring in "Air" and appearing as Bruce Wayne in "The Flash." His untrustworthy psychic ally, Diana Cruz, will be played by Alice Braga, famous for "City of God" and action flicks like "Predators," "I Am Legend," and "The Suicide Squad."

Affleck's character will be chasing down a hypnotic played by William Fichtner, who's one of those "you've definitely seen this guy in something" actors. Fichtner played Agent Alexander Mahone in "Prison Break" and has appeared in everything from "The Dark Knight" and "Heat" to "Armageddon" and "Black Hawk Down." Rounding out the cast, we've got Jackie Earle Haley of "Watchmen," JD Pardo of "Mayans M.C.," Hala Finley of "We Can Be Heroes," Jeff Fahey of "Lost," and Dayo Okeniyi of "The Hunger Games."

Who is writing and directing Hypnotic?

Robert Rodriguez is one of the most famous rags-to-riches stories in Hollywood history. The Austin-based filmmaker famously got his start with "El Mariachi," an extremely indie action flick he made for just $7,000. Since then, Rodriguez has become a major force in the world of genre films, directing beloved titles like "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Sin City," and "Alita: Battle Angel." Plus, he's been quite involved with the world of "Star Wars," directing an episode of "The Mandalorian" and serving as an executive producer on "The Book of Boba Fett."

Rodriguez's last feature was the adorable superhero film "We Can Be Heroes," and we've been eagerly awaiting his latest offering. "Hypnotic" has been a passion project for Rodriguez, and he's dedicated the latest 20 years of his life to bringing this story to the screen. In addition to directing, he's also producing the picture, and he co-wrote the script.

His screenplay collaborator is Max Borenstein, who's no stranger to over-the-top sci-fi. Borenstein has been involved with every entry in the "MonsterVerse" franchise, having penned the script for 2014's "Godzilla," co-written "Kong: Skull Island" and "Godzilla vs. Kong," and helped develop the story for "Godzilla: King of the Monsters." Plus, he's one of the co-showrunners on HBO's "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty."

Is there a trailer for Hypnotic?

The trailer for "Hypnotic" opens with Ben Affleck's Detective Daniel Rourke undergoing therapy, remembering the tragic day his daughter went missing. However, his session is cut short by a bank robbery — one where Rourke witnesses an incredibly creepy figure seemingly use psychic powers to make a woman lose her mind and cause a traffic accident ... the perfect distraction for a bank heist.

As Rourke hunts the man down, he soon realizes this specter possesses truly insane powers. When the detective and his fellow cops corner the crook, the villain simply says, "I'm the wrong man," prompting the officers to turn their guns on Rourke. "Hypnotics have the ability to influence the brain," Alice Braga's Diana Cruz explains. "Sound, voice, locking eyes — hypnotics use them to make you see a version of the world that doesn't exist."

We witness that play out as Rourke whips down the street on a motorcycle, horrified by the sights of crumbling and shifting buildings all around him. "What you're seeing isn't real!" Diana warns, showing the true power of a hypnotic — they make everything you see and do perfectly normal.