Like most of the country, hell, most of the world, I have been in some version of quarantine for over 100 days now. During this time, I’ve rekindled my love of some older hobbies, while letting others slowly fade into the background. Unfortunately, one of those hobbies was writing reviews for the films that I have enjoyed, and the ones that I’ve not liked so much, too. The last film that I had the pleasure of viewing in an actual movie theater, before this pandemic really took hold everywhere was Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. It is only fitting that this is the same film to bring me back to reviewing once again.
After finally escaping her abusive ex, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss, Girl, Interrupted) learns that he has killed himself. Having inherited a considerable amount of money from his death, Cecilia can finally move on towards a somewhat normal life. That is, until she begins to suspect that Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, “The Haunting of Hill House”) is actually quite alive and still tormenting her.
As I’ve already stated, I’m a little rusty at getting my thoughts out into shareable words, so bear with me as I get rolling here.
I have always been a fan of Leigh Whannell; from the moment I was introduced to both his acting and his writing with 2004’s Saw to the myriad of other films he worked on with James Wan, another favorite of mine, to, more recently, directing his own films.
When I first learned that he would be at the helm for a modern-day tale of The Invisible Man, I was immediately excited. Sure, we’ve seen something like that already with 2000’s Kevin Bacon-starrer, Hollow Man, and its less-talked-about sequel, but I am always game for some more invisible horror. Additionally, we’ve already seen a couple of not-so-successful modern takes on other famous Universal Monsters, namely Dracula (see Dracula Untold) and of course The Mummy, but still I was hopeful for something much greater than those two box office duds. (I actually like both of those films more than most people…)
Whannell may be most known for being a part of the torture porn era of horror, even though if you go back and re-visit the first Saw film, you’ll realize that it was not quite as extreme as all of its inevitable sequels. Still, the man does know how to portray violence in a particular gory manner. Take Upgrade for instance. That film is not necessarily a horror flick, yet there is plenty of over-the-top explicit bloodshed. While it isn’t necessary to the story of The Invisible Man, he does allow for some of that to show here. Though it is more of an exception than a rule.
The Invisible Man has much more to offer than just blood and gore; It is more deeply rooted in reality than either of the other attempts at reviving old monsters and that is an extremely good thing in my book. We don’t need tons of money pumped into our horror flicks and we don’t need Hollywood’s fingers all over it either. Instead, what we have here is an in the realm of possibility sci-fi flick that centers on an abusive relationship.
This 2020 film features a talented cast across the board. With our antagonist, Adrian, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen and friendly police officer, James, portrayed by Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures), we are treated to more-than-competent performances. There is no doubt, however, that Elisabeth Moss steals the show here, folks.
While I know that Moss has been acting for a very long time, I cannot say that I am too familiar with her work. I am aware that she has been more popular in recent years with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which I still have yet to watch, but I had no idea that she was this talented. Now, she may not be the model type that we are used to seeing as a leading lady these days. That is neither here nor there, however, because this woman can act her ass off.
I’ve never seen a more convincing portrayal of someone who may be delusional, may be paranoid, but is most certainly traumatized. I can’t say that I know firsthand what an abusive relationship looks or feels like, but Elisabeth Moss’ Cecilia does a great job of representing what I’d imagine a victim of one would look/act like. After being tormented for so long (a time period in which we are never actually informed of), she can’t let go of the feeling that this man who treated her so poorly is actually gone, and, in this case, he isn’t!
The Invisible Man at Home
The Invisible Man is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. I have the pleasure of owning the Blu-ray of this particular home release, which is presented in Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1 format with English Dolby Atmos, French Canadian Dolby Digital 5.1, and Latin American Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 audio tracks. English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish subtitles are available for the deaf and hard of hearing. It is rated R and has a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes.
This new release from Universal contains a number of special bonus features including deleted scenes, interviews with cast and crew, and audio commentary with writer and director, Leigh Whannell, himself, giving more insight into the making of the film.
The Invisible Man is a great film from start to finish. It features superb acting, a believable storyline, and enough blood to satiate even the most depraved fans. It is able to tap into different levels of the genre we love so much with moments of suspense, a score worthy of any thriller, science fiction based technology, and so much more.
It may not be a perfect film, but it is close enough for me and while it hasn’t necessarily single-handedly revived the idea of a Universal Monsters crossover universe like was originally planned years ago, it has done well enough to merit the creation of both an Invisible Woman film and a new Wolf Man flick. Those are huge pluses in my book and I cannot wait to see either of those!
I give The Invisible Man a repulsive rating of 4.5 Yulan dining slit throats out of 5.