With a powerhouse producer of Jason Blum backing your project, only the highest of qualities can be expected. Blumhouse Productions has quickly become one of the top household names in the horror genre putting out so many successful films over the last two decades. If Blumhouse is involved, you know you’re in for a treat if you’re a horror fan. The Invisible Man is no different. Jason Blum specializes in the art of making films for the lowest of budgets turning them into a gigantic profit. It’s expected whenever his name is attached, films including “Get Out”, “The Purge”, “Whiplash”, and “Split” are but a few shining examples of the highest caliber of Jason Blum.
To say The Invisible Man is a horror movie is a complete overstatement, it’s a thriller with horror elements at best. To be clear, that doesn’t take away what the film’s message is attempting to convey, not in the least. Does anyone remember the “Dark Universe” Universal studios was hoping to set up? They got a bunch of high profile A-list actors together and took a bunch of photos after the latest Mummy film released to critical and box office failure. Predictably, nothing panned out from that but If anyone ever ventures to search upcoming Blumhouse productions there is a couple of characters that can potentially make up a dark universe that Universal had promised.
Once the clock struck midnight and 2020 came to be, several films looked quite promising, The Invisible Man being one of them. The film is adapted by the book of the same name written by H.G. Wells released in 1897. Like every film that has been slated to release in the year 2020, The Invisible Man was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic only lasting 4 weeks in theaters before being released on VOD. Just because the film only had a 4 week run in theaters doesn’t mean the film failed. In fact, it’s the polar opposite, in just 4 short weeks, the film grossed $130 million on a budget of $7 million.
That’s right, you read that correctly. $7 million budget is pennies compared to franchise films like the Fast & Furious saga or the Marvel Cinematic Universe – that’s the genius of Blumhouse. This film doesn’t even scream low budget whatsoever either. The production value is incredible and adds a polished look and feel to the final product. It’s not even a complex story to tell – Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) escapes her abusive boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who is a tech genius and billionaire who invents a way to become invisible to torment Cecilia. Elisabeth Moss puts this film on her back and carries it the entire way.
Moss gives this film its emotional weight. Cecilia is a woman who is afraid of her own shadow and that shadow happens to be Adrian. All the steps she thinks she took to outsmart Adrian, fail. He winds up being one step ahead of her. The scariest aspect of this film is the turn from damsel in distress to a predatory threat while having absolutely no one believe her in the process. She not only had to fight Adrian, she had to fight the police and her friend Aldis (James Lanie) who takes her in after escaping her former home.
Moss plays this type of role perfectly i.e. “The Handmaid’s Tale” where her character is stripped of all her basic human rights and learns to use that vulnerability as her strength. Once Cecilia recognizes no one will believe her, the only thing she can do is take matters into her own hands. Writer / director Leigh Whannell gives Moss the ultimate sandbox to express those raw emotions of what it’s genuinely like to be in an abusive relationship with someone. Not only does this reboot of a classic monster film feel like a fresh rebooted take, it pays homage to the 1933 adaptation with a quick shot.
Besides Moss, the standout of this film is the airtight direction. The gritty, grounded, real feel this script offers is like no other. Leigh Whannell paints a picture that many know too well in domestic abuse and how that can physically, mentally, and emotionally affect a person. The camera work and effects are excellent showing the audience that first person perspective especially with every twist and turn Cecilia encounters. The moment Cecilia fades in, the intensity grows like a weed with every step she navigates trying to escape the drugged out Adrian. Whannell does a perfect job capturing the watchers attention, keeping them on the edge of their seat or internally screaming at the supporting cast as the plot begins to unravel (pun intended).
The pacing is flawless from scene to scene as there is never a dull moment in Cecilia’s quest for the truth. Each scene has purpose to the overall story that is being told. This film, although rather excellent at getting it’s point across, can be triggering to those that have actually been abused by ones they have loved. It can be disturbing to experience what is playing out, but Elisabeth Moss finds a way to channel that abuse turning Cecilia’s pain and agony into something strangely poetic.
One thing that stands out is the sound, or lack there of. The use of sound adds to the creepiness this film portrays. The brilliance of this film is in the editing because you’ll never see him coming, unless you throw a gallon of paint on him. Whannell has this ability to make your skin crawl in certain scenes while Cecilia figures out where Adrian is at all times; it’s eerily compelling.
Taking a somewhat fresh take on a concept like this and turning it into more of a science fiction theme works for this seemingly revamped horror genre film. If this film teaches anything it’s that things may not appear as they seem on the surface than what is hidden in plain sight (ha another pun). Though this film is more thriller than horror offering no real jump scares. Overall The Invisible Man is a well-crafted modern take on a classic monster movie villain giving us one of the best performances of the year, so far. If I were to rate The Invisible Man, I’d rate it a 4.85 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen The Invisible Man and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
The Invisible Man is written and directed by Leigh Whannell is Rated R and has an 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Invisible Man was released on February 24th, 2020 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. The Invisible Man can be bought online by retailers including Vudu, Google and Itunes.
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