HOLLYWOOD─I was so giddy to see the rebirth of a horror classic based on the iconic novel by H.G. Wells. Of course, we have the 1930s entry known as “The Invisible Man.” While not true horror, back then it was something unknown so it frightened the audience. If we’re talking about the most recent taken on the invisible man, you’d have to visit the 2000 film “The Hollow Man” starring Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue that had absolutely no substance whatsoever.
That all changes with the 2020 flick, “The Invisible Man” that has a strong element of reality and relatability that is so exhilarating it’s the best time I’ve had at the theater in a long time. The movie is brought to us by Blumhouse Pictures which has been notorious for remaking and bringing fresh takes to horror to the big screen in recent years. I will acknowledge that “The Invisible Man” is not a full-blown horror flick in my opinion, it’s more of a thriller, but it’s intense.
The narrative focuses on Cecilia Kass portrayed with perfection by Elisabeth Moss. Moss brings a level of vulnerability and strength to a woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship with her husband Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who is a power hungry scientist. The issue of domestic violence and abuse is a front a center element that really sells this movie with a strong burst of chaos. It’s identifiable and we sympathize with our protagonist, who goes on this journey of a victim who by the end of the movie has empowered herself fully to take back control of her life.
She tries to escape, but her husband is such a control freak and dominating force he catches her every time. She soon manages to escape in the middle of the night and disappear into thin air. She is lured out of the darkness when she discovers her lover has apparently died after committing suicide. This sets the stage for the rest of the story, as Cecilia learns she has inherited $5 million, and it’s all hers, as long as she doesn’t lose her mind. What I enjoyed about “The Invisible Man” is this notion of insanity. How does a sane person prove to the rest of the world they’re sane when everyone thinks they’re crazy?
That notion alone will drive a person insane America, and we see that play out throughout the course of the film. Weird things start to transpire, people start to die and it becomes evident to Cecilia that her ex might be very much alive and has found a way to become invisible. This makes his threat level that more heightened, as Cecilia desperately attempts to convince those in her orbit of the real threat that she knows is present, but they seem ambivalent to.
There are strong supporting roles by Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Harriet Dryer whose characters assist Cecilia in her escape from her hubby. The pacing is stellar, it’s not too slow, it’s not too fast, its perfectly timed to reach the tension and suspense continues to build with gotcha moments and thrilling moments that keep the spectator on the edge of their seat. I will admit the visual effects are so authentic and realistic it’s an added perk to an already exciting narrative.
That might be a direct result of writer/director Leigh Whannell who is no stranger to the horror genre having dipped his toe in the epic 2004 film “Saw,” as well as the 2010 thriller “Insidious.” He knows the importance of camera placement when it comes to sending that jolt to the audience. “The Invisible Man” is a great ride that is proof with the right idea and the right story you can bring new life into a classic to haunt audiences for years to come.