The Invisible Man (2020) accomplishes some effective scariness in its early stages, but its strengths don’t save it from feeling like just another standard horror flick.
The film follows Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), the abused ex-girlfriend of the emotionally manipulative tech genius, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who stalks Cecilia throughout as the titular Invisible Man.
This film is driven by Cecilia’s desperate attempts to escape Adrian’s grasp, seen most effectively in its opening escape scene. Elisabeth Moss does very well in making you believe that Cecilia is slowly deteriorating mentally, and her arc throughout the picture is one of its more standout features. The core cast alongside Cecilia don’t get as much development, and while I feel this is the point, it left me not caring when these characters were in danger, though you can see everyone other actor is doing their best.
The cinematography is average, sometimes great in places, but I found this movie really relies on its use of negative space, which you’d expect given the title but after a while this trick just felt silly to me. You can only show me an ‘empty’ room so many times before I start to feel cheated.
While on that subject, I didn’t feel as wowed by the visuals as I wanted to be. The film feels like it has very little special effects to go along with its premise, which is probably due its incredibly low budget. At no point did I feel like I was watching anyone fight with a truly invisible person, and when you look at it in comparison to the 1933 original it feels pretty cheap. I think the producers should have put a lot more faith (money) into this story.
The film’s sound was forgettable to me unfortunately, in places it felt derivative of The Thing and in others it just felt manipulative in a negative way.
The story was serviceable, strongest in the movie’s first half. After that, the plotting felt a bit confused, with some pretty frequent tonal whiplash and pacing issues and a third act twist that happens well before the finale. It really sucked out all the momentum of the previous scenes, which ultimately felt like it did the finale a disservice.
Overall, I enjoyed The Invisible Man, but I probably won’t remember much about it. If anything, it just makes me wish that people would put the time and money into franchises that they deserve.
Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
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