After countless attempts to redo their stable of movie monsters for a modern generation, “The Invisible Man” signals that Universal Studios is finally on the right track. Not only do they manage to remold the classic horror movie for a modern generation, but they inject it with immense tension, so many plot twists and a socially relevant message about spousal abuse and the long lasting effects it can have on the victims. Suffice to say, Leigh Whannell’s “The Invisible Man” is a masterpiece of the sub-genre.
After escaping her controlling abusive tech mogul husband Adrian with the help of her estranged sister, Cecilia Kass manages to find safety with family friends. But as she’s attempting to move on with her life, she learns that Adrian has committed suicide and has left his fortune to her. But as Cecilia looks forward to a new life, she begins getting terrorized by an unseen force. Convinced Adrian has found a way to torment her, despite the insistence he’s died. As no one believes her claims, she begins to wonder if she’s losing her mind from PTSD, or if Adrian really has found a extraordinary way to punish her.
“The Invisible Man” is a wonderful reboot of the classic HG Wells novel and 1933 movie simultaneously that bases a lot of its tale not just on the invisible man but the effect of those around the titular character. The narrative is heavily reliant on the performances, and Elisabeth Moss is more than up for the challenge. Moss gives a spectacular performance as a shattered abused spouse struggling to rebuild her life, who has to face circumstances that are beyond comprehension. Or even explanation, for that matter. Although much of the trailers have convinced audiences that they’ve seen it all, “The Invisible Man” still packs in the allegory about PTSD, living with an abusive spouse and how they can stain our lives forever.
Cecilia is a young girl tormented by Adrian even before the narrative is put in to motion. And once the narrative is pushed in to high gear, she begins to wonder if she’s really being stalked by Adrian or if she’s merely not coping well enough. Even when we see it for ourselves, even we have to wonder if we’re just seeing from Cecilia’s perception of events, or if there’s so much more to the inherent terror and violence she begins facing. Moss is outstanding in “The Invisible Man” and makes it basically a one woman show as she spends many scenes reacting to, and reacting off of literally nothing. Lo and behold she sells every single spine tingling moment and makes her experience terrifying and absolutely emotionally draining.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the strong supporting performances by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid, respectively. Per usual Whannell cinematic outings “The Invisible Man” is filled with excellent plot twists and great pacing, as well as some brutal violence that punctuates the kind of terror Cecilia had to endure most of her life. The minimalist approach works for what is one of the finest films of 2020 so far.