So over the weekend, I got the chance to catch the newly rebooted Blumhouse/Universal Invisible Man. Directed by Leigh Whannell who gave us Saw, Insidious and the ever so awesome (but underrated) Upgrade.
Btw…if you haven’t seen Upgrade, you need to get your shit together and check it out!
Yet despite Whannell’s increasingly impressive resume, I was still concerned especially since we had the travesty known as the Mummy reboot. To be honest I won’t judge even that shit show much because I didn’t even see it. It’s just that I was just so turned off by the horrible reviews it had. Knowing that it was universally panned by audiences and critics alike, not to mention it failed to jumpstart the “Dark Universe” of monsters such as Dracula and Frankenstein. Needless to say, I cannot blame anyone for being hesitant.
But I managed to sit through The Invisible Man after hearing mostly positive stuff thus far.
Did this movie suck “Universally” like the Mummy or was it awesome?
Oh and just so you know, I am going to be giving my rating system an upgrade. I am too much of an indecisive libra to say that a movie is awesome or it sucks. And movies are more complex than that.
And, yes I will eventually see The Mummy.
That being said…read along now.
Oh and this review is spoiler free!
The Invisible Man is the updated sci-fi horror flick based on H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name. It stars Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, a victim of an abusive boyfriend, Adrian Griffin played English actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen. After fleeing Adrian, Cecilia comes to find out that he has committed suicide. She then becomes the sole heir of his fortune which he has made via scientific/tech advancements.
However Cecilia feels that someone is watching her and she cannot shake the feeling that Adrian faked his own death. As coincidences go from frightening to downright lethal, Cecilia must prove that she isn’t crazy and that Adrian is in fact not only alive but invisible.
I have to start off saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Didn’t matter if shots were panned out or close up, I spent the movie trying to see instances of The Invisible Man lurking on screen. What I really loved was that when I realized he was there, I spent other moments wondering when Adrian would make himself “known”. This really gave me Paranormal Activity vibes with the tension build-up.
What also made the movie amazing was the fact it didn’t rely heavily on CGI like 2000’s Hollow Man, which was loosely based on the original Invisible Man flick.
Hollow Man, however had by far a crazier budget of 95 million 20 years ago versus the 9 million budget of Whannell’s film.
Now there aren’t many similarities between Whannell’s vision and Well’s book or the classic film from the 30s/40s. You have the central premise is about a man of science who is invisible. Oh and they do kinda share the name Griffin. Both versions give you the heebie-jeebies because the characters leave you with the feeling that someone or something is there. We see chairs that have the imprint of a body sitting in it or noises being made with no one around. But that is as far as the equal comparisons go.
The protagonist in the book is more of a sympathetic almost anti-hero who wants his life back whereas the 2020 Griffin is narcissistic asshole bent on controlling his ex. In Well’s version, Griffin’s invisibility is the result of an experiment turned permanent catastrophy that pushes him onto the brink of madness whereas Whanell’s Griffin is (without giving anything away) was already on the sociopathic spectrum.
What comes to mind is the straight to video 100 Feet… Here the protagonist is a battered woman actually killed her husband in self-defense. The kicker being that she is haunted by his ghost in their former home where she trapped on house arrest.
Much like that plot, The Invisible Man film plays on a battered woman who goes from victim to vengeful badass. Not to mention, no one even believes her as no one can see her attacker.
Speaking of badass, Moss really sells this film from her altercations with Griffin as well as her portrayal of a woman frightened for her life. She is legit so scared of this guy she begins the movie sneaking out. The rest of the movie makes you truly feel bad for her because you see her pleading with everyone to believe her. It’s like despite his “absence/death” Griffin has found the perfect way to gaslight poor Cecilia.
You honestly empathize for Cecilia in the first act. You watch scene by scene as she all but loses everything and all goes to shit. But it’s those interactions with The Invisible Man that were superb. I like how we know Moss is tussling with herself in actuality. Yet the film makes you believe that there’s a force tormenting the shit out of her. What made this succeed like its original predecessor is that you have to pause and wonder if someone is watching… down to the ending
Like I said, this is an example of how the way certain scenes are shot really work well… Take notes because this, boys and girls is how you build a thriller without reliance on several jump scares. Now this movie was not without any but they weren’t cheesy or cheap. I like when a movie can give me a nice scare without making me jump from some big loud SURPRISE every ten minutes, which in this case were delivered tastefully. This was probably best achieved because this is the kind of movie that makes your lean forward and wonder if you saw something that may or may not have happened.
However, that being said… there are other moments that really don’t work for me. I mean we live in a world where people are literally glued to their phones and yet I watched this saying, how did no one catch that? If you have seen it, you really ask yourself if certain scenes were caught on a security camera especially those in public. Not to mention that this is a movie that heavily used security cameras as a plot tool and that this is a movie heavily rooted in technology.
There are other convenient plot twists and holes that are there because the movie had to well…”movie” along. What is expressed in the original film are things like how the Invisible Man gets around. In this film I guess it was magic.
Oh and (mini-spoiler)
Really the Lyft driver? How did he missed that? I mean, no really. If you know what I mean, then you will know I am not being petty.
Anyways, theses few nuances aren’t enough to make the movie unenjoyable. The Invisible Man is a great horror sci-fi movie and you will indeed enjoy it.
I give it 3 out 4 thumps up.
Until Next Time Kiddies,
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