What you can't see can hurt you.
The Invisible Man is a 2020 psychological horror film directed by Leigh Whannell, written by Leigh Whannell, produced by Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, and Nervous Tick Productions, and distributed by Universal Pictures. It is based on H.G. Wells' 1897 novel, The Invisible Man. The film stars Elizabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards.
"I can't tell you right now. He's listening. He's in the room." -Cecilia Kass
After narrowly escaping from her abusive boyfriend, Cecilia Kass is relieved to find out that he killed himself. As Cecilia prepares to spend her life amongst friends and family, a dark shadow looms over her. Her boyfriend, Adrian Griffin, faked his death and found a way to become invisible. With nobody believing her, Cecilia must find a way to prove that she isn't crazy and protect the ones she loves from Adrian's dangerous plan.
The first thing about this film is the directing. Leigh Whannel did an amazing job of making this film feel horrifically paranoid, making sure that the audience was never quite comfortable. There were some insanely creepy shots that create chills and make the audience feel unsafe. The way that Whannel modernized and shot this film is great. The viewer will never know whether the invisible man is there or not unless something happens, and there are times when nothing happens, even though he could be there.
Elizabeth Moss could earn her first Academy Award nomination this year for her performance in this film. She contributes to the paranoid and uncomfortable aesthetic that this film gives to the audience. Even though the audience knows that she isn't crazy, she does a sure job of making the viewer feel like she's mentally unstable. It's hard to act as though somebody is there when there isn't always another person really there, but Elizabeth Moss just knocks it out of the park. The supporting cast does a great job, too, considering that I hadn't heard of any of them before I watched this film. Aldis Hodge is a great foil to Elizabeth Moss. He clearly wants to be her friend and ally through all of this, but reacts as a real person would if they were in this situation. Storm Reid has a promising career ahead of her with a solid portrayal of Aldis Hodge's daughter. She has a very likable and charming personality that makes it even more crushing when the invisible man attacks her. This is a severely underrated cast that makes this movie more surreal than it would've been with a mediocre cast.
I was originally going to put this as a negative, but rewatching these scenes, the action is actually pretty great. Yes, it doesn't always look one hundred percent convincing, but most of the time, it does. It is shot beautifully and acted even better, with some crazy camera rotations and a lot of invisible choking. We get to see Elizabeth Moss thrown across the room by the invisible man. We get floating guns and floating knives, and it is actually really fun to watch. I think that the action gets even cooler when we learn about the invisible suit and it starts malfunctioning. We get to see half of the invisible man flickering in and out between takes and it is absolutely thrilling.
The story isn't really that new. We've had paranoia thrillers, but this is a well-done paranoia thriller. There are some very shocking moments in the film that drastically change the momentum of the story and it makes the movie paced very well. Some of the kills and moments come out of nowhere. That's part of what makes the movie so paranoid and uncomfortable. You know that nobody is safe because the invisible man could be anywhere. The writers did a great job of pursuing this idea at the perfect time. The idea of someone being chased down by someone who is dead isn't anything new, but when you throw in an invisible twist in the mix, it makes it more fun.
I have two big problems with this film. First off, the movie really isn't that scary. It is thrilling and it's paranoid, but there isn't anything that would keep you up at night. There are only a couple of people who get killed and only one who you actually care about, so there isn't much horror. The invisible man's presence is more creepy than scary. That's really what this entire movie feels like. It's creepier than scary. That doesn't make the movie bad, but if you are going into this movie to be scared, watch a different movie. I was admittedly disappointed, expecting this to have more jump scares or more gore, but it didn't.
Secondly, this movie lost me during the ending. It was never precisely clear to me who the invisible man actually was and what was going on with Adrian and Tom and everybody. It was a little bit too complicated and too confusing for my taste. For a pretty simple movie, it feels like they tried to make the ending complex and have a shocking twist. Neither work. I wish that they had kept the ending on par with the rest of the movie; simple.
Despite being more of a thriller than a scary movie, The Invisible Man succeeds with a great cast and some fantastic direction.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 13+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)
"The Invisible Man"
Fun Factor: 8/10
Directed by Leigh Whannel
Released on February 28, 2020
2 hours and 4 minutes
Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass
Aldis Hodge as James Lanier
Storm Reid as Sydney Lanier
Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Adrian Griffin
Harriet Dyer as Emily Kass
Michael Dorman as Tom Griffi