Writer/director Leigh Whannell (Upgrade (2016)) uses H. G. Wells classic novel of the same name as an inspiration to create a modern horror piece which is often very scary and develops a great atmosphere, but struggles with some illogical moments. A review of The Invisible Man (2020).
Plot details: “When Cecilia’s abusive ex Adrian Griffin takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by an invisible man, his ex.”
A strong Moss leads the movie
First of all: The movie works because of Elisabeth Moss’ great performance. Moss is known for portraying strong, intelligent women in terrifying situations (for example in the series The Handmaid’s Tale). She is doing exactly the same in this movie and it’s a perfect fit. Her character Cecilia Kass is well-portrayed, the choices she made are intelligent and the audience can easily understand her motives. She feels real.
This strong female role is accompanied by some well-staged moments that create an atmosphere of fear and paranoia. Already the initial situation alone, that Cecilia is haunted by her invisible, psychopathic ex-boyfriend, is cause for discomfort. But Whannell puts it further by showing how he invades the intimacy and privacy of Cecilia. That’s pretty frightening.
Last but not least, the effects are well-made. The creation of the invisible man looks very natural (budget only $7 million) and the fighting scenes between him and Cecilia make a good impression.
Some problems with the story
Even though the story has some exciting twists for the audience, it does reveal some weaknesses releated to the fact of “invisibility”. Sometimes it’s not realistic from where the invisible man comes in a scene and where he is staying. Really, you want to tell me that he stays in the cell everyday with Cecilia? What about eating, peeing, sleeping?
Also, the man Adrian Griffin just created a suit that can make people invisible and the police (as well as a lot of security cameras) found out about it. So, why is there no military or FBI searching Griffins house? His invention is a world revolution! The US government would have jumped on this invention immediately and never let Griffin see Cecilia in the end… They would have protected Griffin immediately for their purposes and brought him to safety.
Also, the movie could have been more containt, more horror, and not so focused on the action and the outside word. The story could have worked better if centered around just one location (like in the horror movie Hush (2016) for example).
As a summary, it can be said that Whannell made with The Invisibe Man a solid horror movie led by the performance of the lead actress. There are some pretty scary moments and the story has some twists. But minor story issues and some directing techniques make that Whannell cannot be count so far in the new wave of horror movies led by directors such us Ari Aster, Robert Eggers or Robert David Mitchell.
Final rating: 6,5/10.
Until then keep watching horror movies!
(Picture: Copyright Universal Pictures)