Director: Leigh Whannell Release: February 28, 2020
Expectations can form an idea of what a movie is going to be like before you even enter a theater. The primary way general audiences find out about a film before release is the trailer. You can also hear about the life of a production, what led to the big screen. The Invisible Man has had a turbulent life, having originally been apart of the “Dark Universe” before that was dropped after The Mummy. Then we got to see its new iteration when the trailer came out, and honestly it’s a bland and generic trailer. With those factors, The Invisible Man should be just that, a standard horror. What we got is one of the most fun, tense and interesting horror films in recent times.
Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) is running from her controlling and abusive boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Once she believes she’s finally escaped her past, Adrian seems to have committed suicide. But his presence is all around her…or is it more than that? Has she gone crazy, or is Adrian in the same room and no one can see him? Ceci tries to tell someone, anyone, but no one believes her. Can she escape the invisible man?
The central theme throughout the film is control. How far will someone go to keep their victim at arms reach, and alternatively can you take back your life after trauma? You constantly wonder what’s next, and just when you think our heroine is finally going to fix a broken part of her life, BANG, the invisible man controls her once again. The tug of war between what you know and what you can’t see keeps you on your toes. The pacing and themes keep this film from becoming stale and I was gripped the entire time.
I have to emphasis the incredible performance Elisabeth Moss gives in this film, she gives such a wide range of emotions and can flip on a dime from calm relief to utter terror all from her facial expressions. The film hinges on Moss’s performance, if she couldn’t sell the terror than we couldn’t be afraid of the horror. The basic concept means the audience doesn’t see what is happening, which works so well solely because you believe that Cecilia is scared for her life, yet trying desperately to move on from her past.
I love the characters and the setting is fun and how it is used thematically and performed by our protagonists, I can only say that I enjoyed 90% of The Invisible Man. I can’t talk in detail about what didn’t work for me, since it involves the last five minutes. I truly believe that if the movie had ended 5 minutes earlier, it would have been one of my favorite horror movies in the last decade. But decisions made in the writing room means I just don’t enjoy what happens right before the credits. The rest of the film before a certain point is amazing.
However, for a film that has gone through studio development hell, The Invisible Man does deliver some strong writing and performances. The trailer was terrible, but this film is great. It should have ended sooner, but when they are trying to make a more interwoven movie universe. sometimes mistakes have to be made. I didn’t see The Invisible Man being this good.