When Cecilia’s abusive ex 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 someone nobody can see.
Starring: Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Elisabeth Moss, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Written by: Leigh Whannell, and H.G. Wells (novel)
We've all heard about the plans to bring back Universal’s classic monsters in a new Dark Universe. The first attempt failed with “The Mummy,” so it might have seemed logical to jump right to something like Dracula or Frankenstein. Instead, they took another risk, and decided to reimagine “The Invisible Man.” There’s lots that they could do with an invisible man, so did they get this monster story right this time?
Interestingly enough, this monster story is more about the victim than anything else. From the start, the story follows Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), as she makes a daring escape from her home and abusive husband Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Filled with fear, she seeks refuge with her friend and cop James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). She’s so sure that Adrian will find her that she can barely even make it to the mailbox before running back inside for safety. Even after hearing about his death weeks later, she still struggles to move on.
Just when she begins to make some progress, she begins to be haunted by him again. She’s not sure how he’s doing it, but she’s convinced he’s still alive and out to get her. Of course, no one around her believes her, and she becomes more and more paranoid. Adrian’s plan is working to perfection, and Cecilia is taken to breaking point before she takes the fight to him.
Since the movie takes Cecilia’s point of view, it needs a strong performance from Elisabeth, and it definitely gets one. She plays the victim perfectly from beginning to end. The audience can see the fear and paranoia on her face the entire time. Even in moments of strength, the audience also sees how much courage she needs to conjure up to fight back. She’s so good at it that they don’t even have to waste movie time showing any of the abuse when they were together. The audience only hears what he used to do to her, and then of course sees what he does to her after becoming the invisible man.
The movie also doesn’t waste a lot of time going over how Adrian becomes the invisible man. There isn’t any scientific method, or testing, as it basically becomes known that he’s great in the field of optics and technology. The audience gets to see an area he works in, and the suit that makes him invisible. It seems to work bypassing the specifics of how, and just getting to the terror.
So that brings us to the ultimate question…does the invisible man scare the audience? Well that depends on the audience, but there’s definitely something unnerving about knowing someone can be in the room, but no one knows where. There are times when the camera looks in a corner or spot, and Cecilia and the audience are just left to wonder if he’s really there or not. There’s a great scene when someone gets murdered so quickly and surprisingly it’s hard to believe it actually happened. On the other hand, sometimes the fight scenes are a little awkward with how they show someone getting taken out step-by-step instead of a fluid movement. Some of the scariest moments might be when his suit is damaged and it starts flashing. The suit is creepy, and it’s freaky when it suddenly appears for a few seconds.
One day it might be nice to see an invisible man story where he goes wild killing off a bunch of people. While he does do some damage in this movie, that’s not what this story is about. The movie might be titled “The Invisible Man,” but the focus is definitely on physical and mental abuse, and the effects of it. Elisabeth is fantastic in bringing the panic and paranoia Cecilia feels throughout the movie. Time isn’t spent on how Adrian becomes invisible, but more on how he continues to torture Cecilia to almost the point of no return. While the scares are a matter of opinion, there’s certainly a tense feeling that builds throughout the movie. It's brought on by a combination of Cecilia's fear, Adrian's mystery, and an extremely uneasy movie score. So did they get this monster movie right…you bet they did! Maybe not the classic tale, but definitely one the will keep you on the edge of your seat. With that, I give it 3.5 pools of blood.