Since we are living in this comic-book adaptation age, I expected that this iteration of The Invisible Man is going to be one of those movies. Something like the Ant-Man from 2015. Oh boy, was I wrong. This movie positively surprised me and I only realized that when it was over. Mostly because of engaging storytelling and pacing that kept my attention peeled to the screen. We can also talk of The Invisible Man of your childhood versus The Invisible Man of my childhood if we’re continuing these analogies. Well, I wasn’t that young back in 2000 when Hollow Man was released starring Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue. Hailed as the technological wonder with never-before-seen special effects, using these new things called computers and computer-generated imagery or CGI for short. I remember being blown away by the visuals and the story in general. I mean, there’s something inherently scary in things we cannot see, something primal.
The original TIM was released back in 1933 and was Universal’s most successful horror film since Frankenstein. Based on H. G. Wells’ 1897 science fiction novel The Invisible Man, the movie also featured special effects, although our main guy spent most of the time covered in bandages. And while we’re taking this stroll down the memory lane, it’s important to mention John Carpenter’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man from 1992 starring none other than Chevy Chase. This comedy could actually be a very refreshing break after the 2020 version that’s very intense and emotional.
However, this was a very fortunate turn of events, since TIM 2020 (sounds like a presidential slogan, it’s a mess!) was imagined as the beginning of the new franchise, a part of something called Dark Universe. Based on the classic Universal Monsters film series like Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy, the whole thing was stopped after the abysmal reboot of The Mummy in 2017. A familiar name pops up here and that name is Alex Kurtzman, a man responsible for the horrendous Star Trek: Discovery and other commercial movies and shows without any soul. Instead of this commercial take on the age-old tale, we got a very original movie that’s completely opposite of what you expected it to be.
Cecilia Kass is in a bad relationship. Her wealthy husband Adrian Griffin is an optics engineer with a habit of controlling everything in his life. We find Cecilia in their home, drugging Adrian and running frantically away from their lofty mansion. However, this is just the beginning of her troubles.
By focusing on an abusive relationship and telling us a story from the perspective of a battered wife, TIM created a very current and engaging atmosphere. And it did so barely coming off as preachy or obnoxious, something that could have easily happened. We are going through this whole ordeal through Cecilia’s eyes, not knowing what might happen or where the danger lies. Especially since the danger is invisible and it could be in any scene.
The special effects were great, especially in the final third where the movie transformed from a thriller/horror to a full-blown action movie. Written by Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious, Upgrade) it’s no wonder that we were treated to some pretty graphic action sequences. And yes, there are a couple of plot holes and scenes where you know that they are here just for the shock value. There are reasonable questions whether this story could have been told as a different movie, mostly because the invisibility was pushed so far from the plot, but what’s done is done. In the end, what we got is a thriller leaning towards the horror genre, with a suspenseful atmosphere and great acting, so be sure to check it out. Enjoy.
Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman
Fun Facts: The house interiors are made up of four different actual houses. Adrian’s bedroom, for example, is actually a living room in a house in Sydney.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1051906/