You can’t see what I can see!
Written, directed and executive produced by Leigh Whannell, one of the OGs behind the SAW and INSIDIOUS franchise, along with directing 2018’s badass Sci-Fi UPGRADE, THE INVISIBLE MAN continues to expose how sharp this dude is when it comes to crafting a story full of angst and terror.
The character of the Invisible Man is part of Universal’s clan of classic movie monsters, including Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Having approved a dust-off and re-imagining, according to production notes, these monster films will be making a comeback and deeply rooted within the horror genre. With absolutely no restrictions, they won’t necessarily be a part of a “shared universe,” but instead will each stand on their own. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. If their execution is anything like THE INVISIBLE MAN… bring it! I’m in!
For starters, this isn’t your grandfather’s Invisible Man of the 1930s/’40s… While I’m at it, this isn’t HOLLOW MAN (2000) either. This is a totally new paint job among a multi-generation character whose timeless awareness will forever serve as one of the originals to strike cinematic fears. One that keeps reminding us things we can’t see can hurt us.
Whannell’s 2020 version of THE INVISIBLE MAN follows Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), who receives the news of her abusive, scientist ex’s suicide. Once informed, she begins to rebuild her life for the better. However, her sense of reality is put into question when she starts to suspect her deceased lover is not actually dead. Trying to prove she is being haunted by someone no one can see, her survival depends on taking matters into her own hands by outsmarting a soul who’s steps ahead of her.
Intense, creepy, loud, intriguing, suspenseful, dramatic, and most of all… BRILLIANT! I walked in a blank canvas and walked out Whannell’d! Not a fan of “reimagines,” but when the upgrade is good, it’s good. Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this film. It’s such a well-executed, soul sucking piece from start to finish. Leigh Whannel’s cinematic stock price continues to climb. From cast to story, everything about this film works. It may ride on strips of predictability and drags, but the “flaws” are invisible (pardon the pun) among its run while meshed with lots of intense build-up. Whannell does a great job at creating an atmosphere of discomfort. A definite mood-setter that goes from violent haunting to Sci-Fi badassery. Quite frankly, its sound-mixing even serves as an accomplice of fear.
THE INVISIBLE MAN starts off slow and dark (literally), but it’s worth it. Once it untangles itself, Whannell takes his audience on a thrill-ride. The trailer obviously gives away a lot, but the fill-ins is where the strength for this piece lies. It’s a psycho-social display of dysfunctionality that can also serve as commentary on toxic relationships, extreme and obsessive masculinity and abusive control. Timely as we are currently living within the realm of #MeToo and The Harv!
While I’m not the biggest Elisabeth Moss follower, I/we need to respect the work she’s done here. Not saying her support wasn’t on point, because they too add to the levels of her anxiety, but Moss carries this film. And she carries it well. Is it an award-winning presentation? No! But it’s one of the best performances I’ve seen in a horror/thriller considering 70% of the movie is just her riding a wave of actions and reactions. Her role amplifies the narrative and keeps it rolling on the edge of both her sanity and ours.
Is the film scary? Not really. There are some jump-scares sprinkled within its run. However, when it comes to effective creepiness and psychological intensity… this runs high on it. Very high. The sanity struggle is real with THE INVISIBLE MAN. Overall, this is a good film that generates an atmosphere of unsettling brain behavior — and I’m not surprised. Stick with it and you too will be Whannell’d! (If you haven’t been already.)
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi
Run Time: 2:04
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman and Oliver Jackson Cohen
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Official Movie Website: https://www.theinvisiblemanmovie.com/