THE INVISIBLE MAN Review

I've said it countless times in reviews for the likes of 2009's Friday the 13th, Ryan Coogler's Creed and the Safdie Brothers' Good Time, but I'll say it again as one can glean very early on that there has been tremendous care and a deep pride taken in crafting writer/director Leigh Whannell's (Upgrade) re-interpretation of the H.G. Wells story, The Invisible Man, and we know this due simply to the way in which the title sequence is conveyed. Do I wish Whannell and co. might have saved the main title until after the breathtakingly tense opening sequence? Absolutely, but does this take away from the fact Whannell pays homage to the 1933 adaptation starring Gloria Stuart by opening on such a classic horror setting as a stormy night in a mansion perched upon a hill as the falling rain outside gives only the slightest hint of light in the dark (almost as if the film were in black and white) as the rain drops begin to outline text across the screen? No, no it does not. Not at all. And have no fear, for the entirety of this review will not consist of how well this little touch of brilliance sets the table for everything that comes after, but know that everything that comes afterward is all nearly as brilliant. 2020's The Invisible Man is both a product of its time in that it casts Elisabeth Moss in the lead as a suppressed, but capable woman stuck in an abusive, controlling relationship who-even when she escapes her brutal fiancĂ© (The Haunting of Hill House’s Oliver Jackson-Cohen)-has a difficult time accepting this freedom due to the nature of her life as it was with him and of course, her worst fears come to be realized when she not only senses that Adrian is still alive after it's been reported he killed himself, but through how he terrorizes Moss' character by slowly cutting ties with every person in her support system and painting her as the one who has lost her mind. This is what makes The Invisible Man so frightening as the film itself is not necessarily "scary", but it’s a critical look at manipulation and the power this allows not only for one person to have over another, but how this power spreads to other people’s perception of you leaving one with their own self-doubts despite knowing deep down they aren’t the crazy one. Adrian is a master manipulator who gaslights Moss' Cecilia to the extent that, as a viewer, your frustration is boiling over by the time Whannell reaches his third act; not to mention the shock and rawness through which the director has executed this psychological breakdown given the rather fantastical elements of the scenario. In short, The Invisible Man might not break any new ground as far as story or scares go, but it does what it intends so well that it's difficult to deny the effectiveness of the monster or the message.


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