I need to preface this review, even though I try my best to make this a non-spoiler site, by saying I will limit sharing major details about THE INVISIBLE MAN – because the trailers even show too much in my opinion. HOWEVER, even with the jumps and or clues that the trailers have given, this film was by far one of the best I have seen in the past year (we’re only two months into 2020, so yes, I am referencing since February 2019).
The movie is highly suspenseful, I mean the first approximately 15 minutes had me on edge – even with knowing part of the premise. After a nice buildup of tension in the beginning of the film, Cecelia (Elisabeth Moss) escapes from her controlling and abusive husband Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who subsequently is found dead by suicide. She inherits part of his fortune – on the conditions that she’s never accused of any criminal act nor declared mentally incompetent.
Well, under those circumstances, it’s easy to imagine that Adrian had plenty of leeway to continue tormenting Cecelia in any kind of afterlife, right? And torment he does, as he continues to gaslight Cecelia – who devolves into what seems like a deteriorated mental state with violent and tragic outcomes.
Inspired by the 1933 film, based on the 1897 science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, “The Invisible Man” combines science fiction, horror and suspense to create a timely thriller that is as entertaining as it is morally satisfying. I cheered several times throughout and had to stop myself from yelling out loud at characters several times… yeah, okay a couple of yells may have audibly slipped!
And I am ecstatic that this film is the first of what will be several re-imaginings of the Universal family’s classic movie monsters – which include legendary creatures like Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Representing a vast range of cultural fears and angst, in addition to the intersection of scientific discovery and timeless love and loss, these stories are greatly adaptable to whatever time period they’re created.
“We’re the first of a new generation of Universal Monster movies,” Blum says. “Universal is working on a handful of them, but ours is the first. So, that’s nerve-wracking but also a lot of fun.”
And while Wells’ original character was a scientist who devolved into madness, writer/director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) found it more interesting to focus on the objects of the villain’s obsession. Describing his initial pitch to Blumhouse, Whannell states,
“I said, ‘If you were making an Invisible Man movie, you would make it from the point of view of his victim. Say a woman who escapes from her abusive partner in the middle of the night and then finds out that he’s killed himself but doesn’t quite believe it, especially when mysterious things start happening.’”
And shout out to Mr. Whannell for including a nod to the original 1933 movie – pay close attention to the ER visit scene.
I really can’t say anything bad about the movie – except for one scene, that briefly shook my suspension of disbelief, where I questioned if working cameras were present. However, no major spoilers remember, but I will say the previously mentioned was still a scene that took me by complete surprise. So, all in all, I was in for the ride regardless!
With strong acting – Aldis Hodge (What Men Want, Underground), Storm Reid (Don’t Let Go, A Wrinkle in Time) and Harriet Dyer (The Other Guy, The InBetween) all brought their A-game – a remarkable turn by Moss, who more than makes you a believer as she struggles with an invisible presence throughout, and great cinematography, “The Invisible Man” is a sure winner for those who love the genre and will be a bit of a surprise, in a good way, for those who think they may not. I rate it 4 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
THE INVISIBLE MAN is in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 28.
Until next thought, Thomasena
PS: check out the featurette below, courtesy of Universal, with Elisabeth Moss discussing the film, her role and its timely 2020 update.