Friends, I would be lying if I said that during the week I’ve been laid off at both the arcade as well as my day job – I haven’t actually enjoyed sleeping in and just sitting around the house writing and reading books. Having said that there have been a few times I wish very much that I could leave the house and go out to see a movie… which wouldn’t be the wisest decision perhaps even if the theaters were open. Before the craziness of COVID-19 reared it’s horrible head and forced us all to do our best to stay at home – I had intended to get to the theater to check out the latest adaptation of H.G. Well’s The Invisible Man. The Studios obviously realize that for some of their latest films it would be wise to just make them available to rent, which is why you can now see the likes of Onward, Emma, The Hunt, and of course The Invisible Man at home. Since I’ve stated numerous times I am a devotee to the Universal Monsters – there really wasn’t anyway I could avoid renting this latest take on a mad scientist with the ‘gift’ of invisibility and the willingness to use it for selfish gains. To be fair I think the bar has been set pretty high for invisible man films – with both James Whale’s masterpiece in ’33 or a more recent take with 2000’s Hollow Man. I am happy to say that Leigh Whannell (Dead Silence, Upgrade) has delivered a satisfying and moody offering with this new Invisible Man – a film worthy to be seen.
Now I intend this to be a spoiler-free review of the Invisible Man – just pointing out some elements that stood out and I want to share. As I’ve always done with these reviews I will attempt to not discuss anything that is not been in the trailer itself, which you can watch below. Consider it a warning to turn back if you want to go into the movie completely blind – if you stick with the trailer, know that some things have been altered in the final film.
Invisible Man has changed the desire of the titular character from wanting to use his abilities to strike terror in the citizens of England – to a man who wants to punish his girlfriend for leaving him. Cecilia Kass, played by Elisabeth Moss who delivers a powerhouse of a performance, is trapped in an emotional and physically abusive relationship with Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Making a break for freedom thanks to her Sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) – Cecilia finds shelter with longtime friend, James (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Thanks to the talent of Moss it is pretty evident how much trauma she has endured at the hands of Griffin – which is why it is so shocking when she receive word of his death. It would appear that the optics engineer has taken his own life due to Cecilia leaving him – gifting her 5 million dollars – which is something his Brother Tom (Michael Dorman) is tasked with overseeing as his lawyer. You would think this might be reason for Cecilia to rest easy – but the Invisible Man is a science fiction horror film, so it doesn’t take long before the Woman begins to realize that Adrian might very well be alive and kicking… all the pain and harm from before with the added threat of an invisible stalker.
Leigh Whannell, besides the opening, takes his time with the Invisible Man – slowly building the tension and dread – it is subtle until it doesn’t need to be. As I’ve said already, Moss really brings the goods in her role – especially considering that for most of the time she is acting to an empty room – the obvious fear of her character is the greatest special effect. Invisible Man is a low budget film but the effects of the invisible stalker are quite excellent and technological based this go around – which makes more sense than the ingesting some chemicals like in the ’33 version.
While I’m not saying that this latest Invisible Man is perfect – as very few films are – I will state it IS entertaining and worthy of your time and money. So if you are in the mood for a well made movie with plenty of dread and an amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss – why not rent the Invisible Man this weekend?