“The Invisible Man” was released in theaters on Feb. 28, 2020 by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions.
This American horror classic was first introduced in H.G. Wells’ original science fiction novel in 1897 and brought to the big screen in 1933. The titular character has appeared in many adaptations since, but this modernized retelling features some spectacular performances and a truly gripping narrative.
Elizabeth Moss plays Cecilia, a young woman who escapes her abusive husband, Adrian, and inherits his vast wealth after his untimely death shortly thereafter. Adrian, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, may be gone, but Cecilia’s troubles are far from over as she now feels his evil presence wherever she goes. Left increasingly isolated and vulnerable, Cecilia’s fight against this invisible foe leads her down some very dark paths.
The film is written and directed by Leigh Whannell, a legend of the modern horror genre. Whannell is responsible for the hugely successful “Saw” and “Insidious” franchises and although his films follow the traditional jump-scare tactics of the brand, there is no denying the amount of filmmaking talent he brings to “The Invisible Man.” The pacing of the film is near-perfect as it steadily builds to the apex of Cecilia and Adrian’s intense struggle, with all characters feeling fully actualized in their motivations.
Aldis Hodge portrays the kindly lawman, James, and acts as Cecilia’s guiding light once she escapes the abusive Adrian. But the haunting that ensues spills into every aspect of Cecilia’s familial support, and James must shift priorities to his daughter, Sydney, excellently realized by the young Storm Reid.
Moss carries a majority of the performing burden as she acts opposite the film’s imperceptible antagonist. Her role as the tormented young woman Cecilia deserves high praise as she becomes increasingly isolated by Adrian, the Invisible Man. Cecilia experiences a variety of emotional disturbances in the film, all beautifully captured by Moss’ expert portrayal. It is easily one of the most compelling performances of the year so far.
Sweeping, long camera movements down house interiors and asylum corridors only make the tension thicker as you can't help but feel like the unseen evil is lurking close by at all times: a highly effective strategy for making the audience feel even more on edge.
A haunting score composed by Benjamin Wallfisch (Blade Runner 2049) accentuates the dramatic and elevates the action like the waves of a stormy sea. Almost every aspect of this film worked and with clever plot weaving by Whannell, “The Invisible Man” will leave the audience shocked to their core.
“The Invisible Man” is a perfect example of why the Blumhouse formula works so well. On a low budget of $7 million, the movie’s opening weekend has already earned an impressive $29 million. There is much to respect about the filmmaking and obvious love for the craft throughout the film. Combining a classic story on a small budget with a great cast and solid directing earns “The Invisible Man” a four and a half out of five stars.