Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: The Invisible Man

Release date: February 28, 2020
Running time: 124 minutes
Starring:  Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer

Blumhouse continues its trend of remaking classic films / franchises with The Invisible Man, whose concept appears to be loosely based on the 1933 film.  In this one,  Cecilia Kass (Moss), escapes from an abusive relationship with brilliant but controlling optics specialist Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).  However, almost immediately after she escapes him, she starts to feel like she is not quite alone: she feels a presence in the room, hears a sound that doesn't seem right, or something disappears or moves without her doing.  Cecilia's friendships and sanity are put to the ultimate test as she tracks down something that she cannot see and no one believes is there.

The Invisible Man is first and foremost a suspenseful thriller.  Having a movie about someone you can't see causes even the most mundane scenes to feel tense.  The camera scrolling to an empty room imparts a sense of dread as you never know if something is going to happen.  This stays true even after you know that there is an invisible being, and it really shows how far this simple concept can go.  And a lot of this is helped along by Moss's feature performance.  She has to carry a lot of the movie on her own, especially with an invisible co-star, and carries that burden easily.  Moss is emotional, believable, and deals with her character's ups and downs perfectly.  The rest of the cast are good in their roles, but Moss is the headliner and star of the film. 

Due to the relatively simple concept, it appears Blumhouse took a minimalist approach to this film, including in the effects department.  A sci-fi / horror film can live and die by its effects, and thankfully The Invisible Man does a great job with what it has.  The film is not heavy on CG and that is a great thing.  It makes the film all the more tense because it doesn't go overboard with the effects.  Even the scenes with the invisible co-star are well done and don't break your suspension of disbelief.  Additionally, the sounds are minimal and made to keep you guessing.  Little sounds you hear behind you keep you on edge; was that something behind you or is it normal creak of an old house.  The sound helps to keep you on edge and is another testament to seeing this film in theaters (or with a good home sound setup).  If there is one downside, it is the story.  It is not bad, but it makes some leaps that are not believable and the characters make some decisions that are questionable.  However, if you can put aside these minor issues, you get a very enjoyable thriller. 

The Invisible Man is a new take on the classic film, with great, minimalist effects, wonderful tension, and an amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss.

Watch It

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