film & game reviews, the retro way.
From the ashes of the Dark Universe comes a brand new take on H.G. Wells' classic story as The Invisible Man follows a wealthy engineer's abused girlfriend who manages to escape from his house only to find, soon after, that he has taken his own life... or has he?
Elisabeth Moss is Cecilia, the insomniac girlfriend who orchestrates her way out of a toxic relationship and is just about to move on and enjoy her new freedom, her new life when she appears to be haunted by her deceased ex. She feels his presence around her constantly and she even sees anomalies that can only point to two scenarios: either her ex faked his death and he has found a way to become invisible or a lack of sleep combined with leftover anxieties is causing her to hallucinate. The film walks this line between Cecilia's fears and what might actually be happening around her very well and this Candyman-esque approach leads to some pretty intense sequences where she wanders around an empty house that suddenly might not be so empty.
That The Invisible Man cost only $7M and has made over $120M by the time of this review should be a wake up call to all studios (especially Disney) that movies, even those with science fiction aspects, don't need to cost an absurd amount to be good. And, indeed, this Blumhouse production is one of the good ones with Elisabeth Moss perfectly cast, hot off her twisted turn in Jordan Peele's Us, delivering one heck of a performance. Cecilia's transformation from traumatized victim to pissed-off fighter with nothing to lose is expertly done with Moss convincingly showing every step of the character's emotional evolution in subtle, and sometimes purposely not so subtle, ways.
Spoilers ahead, by the by.
Focusing not on the "Invisible Man" himself but instead on someone he has decided to torture was a bit of a gamble since you rarely even hear him, let alone see him, and this might have cheapened the scares somewhat as the whole film could have come off as a generic, low-budget horror movie with just jump scares and nothing else. Director Leigh Whannell, however, builds up every scare very well, throwing in the odd nifty special effect here and there, just enough to make sure this feels like an Invisible Man movie. The conclusion could have easily gone down the one-twist-too-many route but the film restrains itself to exactly the right amount of surprises, which is refreshing. The invisible suit is the cherry on the cake, by the way, as it has a very cool yet sinister design.
Here's a film that could have gone either way, it could have been one of Blumhouse's dull cash-ins but it chose instead to be a cleverly crafted, genuinely suspenseful psychological horror piece with a terrific lead. The Invisible Man may not be the Johnny Depp-starring blockbuster Universal was initially hoping for but it certainly did the job, and on a budget as well.