5 Reasons HBO Latino's Surreal Masterpiece 'El Hipnotizador' Is a Must-See New Series

Coming this April to HBO Latino, El Hipnotizador is an original series that features an international cast from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Spanning eight episodes, it tells the story of the mysterious Arenas (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a hypnotist with an enigmatic past who suffers from chronic debilitating insomnia. He performs at a local theater using hypnosis to put volunteers into a trance in order to reveal their inner dark secrets with the hope that it will cure their emotional problems. Living in a hotel surrounded by painful memories and condemned to a life of sleepless nights by his rival Darek (Chico Diaz), he will need to confront Darek and deal with his past if he ever wants to sleep again.

The dark, moody series produced by HBO Latin America merges elements of fantasy, noir, and psychological thriller with notes of a creepy horror flick. The high contrast lighting cast shadows on the actors faces and together with the foreboding score add to the mysterious feel. In case you're still not convinced, here are five reasons why El Hipnotizador is a must-see new series.

It's HBO Latin America's First Bilingual Production

Most of the characters speak in Spanish but others converse in Portuguese, although it seems everyone understands each other perfectly. The mammoth production was filmed in Montevideo, Uruguay with a crew of over 200 people over the course of 11 weeks. Its complicated post-production process was loaded with special effects that took two years to complete.

The International Cast Is Critically Acclaimed

The cast brings together a diverse mix of talent from Latin America and Europe, including Emmy-nominated Argentine actor Leonardo Sbaraglia (as Arenas), Cesar Troncoso from Uruguay in the role of Salinero, Chico Díaz from Brazil-Mexico as Darek and the Brazilians Bianca Comparato (Anita), Juliana Didone (Lívia), Miguel Lunardi (Castor), Marisol Ribeiro (Carolina), Ondina Clales (Zoraid), Rodrigo García (Luiz) and Daniel Infantini (Marenko). The cast also includes Argentinians Marilú Marini (Domingas) and Chino Darín (Gregorio), the Uruguayan Stefanie Neukirch (Margarida) and Zemanuel Piñero (Suarez) from Spain. Completing the cast are filmmaker Ruy Guerra (Doctor Victor Corelli) and actress Maria de Medeiros (Justina)  —  both from Portugal.

Leonardo Sbaraglia Is a Magnetic Lead Actor 


Nominated for an International Emmy Award for his role in HBO's Epitafios, the masterful Argentine actor Leonardo Sbaraglia has countless film and TV credits to his name. His most recent role was in the Oscar-nominated dark comedy Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales).  He stars as Arenas the titular hypnotist with a crippling insomnia problem. His dark portrayal of the mysterious Arenas is transfixing.

It's a Surreal Masterpiece

It feels like the creative love child of Salvador Dali and Guillermo del Toro. Its moody lighting, creepy sound effects, and impeccable art direction bears the influence of the horror master del Toro but its surreal dream sequences filled with slithering snakes and misty forests have echoes of Dali's trippy paintings.

It's Based on a Comic Book

The eponymous graphic novel written by Pablo De Santis and illustrated by Juan Sáenz Valiente was a cult hit in Latin America and Europe.

El Hipnotizador premieres on HBO Latino April 1, 2016 at 10:00 p.m. ET. You can also catch episodes on HBO On Demand, HBO GO and HBO NOW.