For years now Universal Pictures have desperately tried to revive their horror icons of the silver screen. From the failed attemot at an MCU style ‘Dark Universe’ to rather inconsistent retelling of stand alone classics, Universal has been having a difficult time finding their footing in the modern age with these classic characters.
It seems that Universal may have gotten the message with the release of their latest attempt to bring back a classic character. This time as a stand alone tale, The Invisible man is more of a thriller for the modern age and it works.
After fleeing a domestic abuse situation, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) soon finds herself haunted by the very man she fled although he is believed to have committed suicide. With no one to go to and no one that will listen, She finds herself alone in a fight against a literal, invisible man.
The original tale of The Invisible Man dealt with the tale of a scientist who, through experimentation, accidentally rendered himself invisible. In that time, this ‘mad scientist’, begins to lose his sanity as he tried to fix his problem. In his time he begins to realize his power in being invisible and it begins to corrupt him. It is a cautionary tale of the dangers of reckless experimentation and it’s effects. The 2020 film of the same name flips the script and instead of following the downfall of a mad scientists, it depicts the terror through the eyes of his victim as he preys on her fear of his abuse prior to his disappearing act.
Throughout the film we watch Cecilia as she is pursued by her ‘dead’ husband. Although her torture at the hands of this invisible menace seems real, no one, not even her closest friends believe her. Writer/Director Leigh Whannell does a tremendous job using this classic tale as an analogy for domestic violence and the difficulty many people have convincing others of it’s existence. Whannell’s ability to use subtle moments to create tension in the story makes even the viewers begin to question if this torture Cecilia is going through is in fact real even though we know it is.
Although a ton of credit goes to Whannell for her vision, Elisabeth Moss really stands out job in her portrayal of Cecilia. Moss creates a character that you feel for every second of the film as we see the toll on her both physically and mentally. Supporting Moss is Harriet Dyer (playing her sister Kass), Aldis Hodge ( Playing James, a friend and confidant of both Cecilia and Kass) and Storm Reid (playing Sydney daughter of James). Serving as both a support system and doubters of her apparent insanity, these actors really show their range as they try to understand Cecilia’s struggles.
I won’t spoil the outcome of this film for you as it is a true mind game through and through tossing twists and turns throughout leaving the audience questioning their own sanity. My one complaint, and it is a minor one, is that we never see the fate of Cecilia’s dog in the story. You’ll know what I am talking about when you see it and it could have easily been solved with a quick scene at the end. Alas, this is no John Wick and the fate of her dog goes unknown. Maybe it will come back in the sequel. Who knows?
The Bottom Line
If this is where Universal is going with their classic movie monsters, I, for one, am all on board. This film proves that it is very possible to modernize a classic tale for today’s audience while also creating a a truly original story.
While this film would probably have languished in the box office had it remained there as traditional release, it is currently available via VOD in digital format as part of Universal’s attempt to provide Box Office films at home for those practicing the recommended isolation. I have to admit, I am impressed by this move and hope to see more studios follow suit. Give it a shot, it is absolutely worth the price of admission.
For those going through Domestic Violence or know someone who is, be sure to get help. While this film depicts a fictional and extreme version of domestic violence, there are people out there who feel invisible although their struggles are real. Talk to a friend of loved one of contact Gethelp.org here: GET HELP
Thanks for reading!
Late To The Game 3/22/2020
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One thought on “Nightmares of the Unseen: A review of The Invisible Man (2020)”
It was predictable the ending – saw it coming about the time she went back to the uber house in SFO bay and found stuff. I’ll leave it at that.
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