Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
Director: Leigh Whannell
See Blumhouse, this is what I’m talking about. If you consistently churned out movies like The Invisible Man I would never have a problem with you. I know this is technically a Universal project, but The Invisible Man hits every mark necessary to establish itself as an elite horror movie. Universal definitely made the right move by abandoning their cinematic universe, because allowing this movie to breathe on its own was crucial to its success. Slick, stylish, and captivating for 124 minutes, The Invisible Man is the strongest performance of Moss’ film career and allows Whannell to continue to showcase his talents after his resounding success in Upgrade.
The film follows Cecelia Kass (Moss), a woman who recently escaped an abusive relationship with Adrian Griffin (Jackson-Cohen), a wealthy optics engineer. When it is revealed that Adrian has killed himself and left $5 million for Cecelia on the condition that she not be ruled mentally insane, she believes her worst fears are behind her. As she begins to pursue a normal life, she notices strange events beginning to happen to her and assumes Adrian is still alive and tormenting her using invisibility. With no one else believing her, Cecelia must find a way to stop Adrian’s torment without losing her life in the process. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that great horror movies don’t need to have any one super scary scene in particular, but what’s most important is the feeling of hopelessness and dread that lingers during the movie. Cecelia’s situation feels never-ending and dire and this is the movie’s strongest point. When your antagonist is a person you can’t see, you need to create an atmosphere that makes him feel as threatening and lethal as any other villain and that’s exactly what The Invisible Man does. A main factor to this tension comes from the camerawork, which manages to showcase the frantic pace of Cecelia’s situation without ever getting jumpy or overwhelming. When all of this is paired with a phenomenal performance by Moss, we get a movie that has a clear direction and accomplishes every goal it sets out to accomplish. Moss has had plenty of high-profile moments in television, but they haven’t exactly carried over into movies yet. With this performance, Moss has shown mainstream audiences she’s ready for her moment in the sun and I can easily see her getting major nominations at some point in the future. As both an adaptation and a standalone horror movie, The Invisible Man breathes new life into the genre and is something that all mainstream horror movies should model themselves after. In a genre that tends to be very top-heavy and focused on blockbuster franchises, seeing something that hasn’t been adapted in a while come back into relevance and acclaim is something I’m pleasantly surprised to see this early in the year. Universal and Blumhouse have teamed up to release something truly impressive and now it’s up to rival studios to see if they can step up to the plate and answer the call.
Overall, The Invisible Man brings a unique perspective to an old story and is a breath of fresh air for a season usually filled with nonsense. I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect from this movie, but it just goes to show you when you have enough talented people working on a movie the question really becomes how successful will the movie truly be. Blumhouse may have won this round with me, but if they deliver a movie that’s of a lower quality than The Invisible Man I’ll be severely disappointed since we know for sure that they can do more.
Overall Score: 8.5/10