I'm an artist, a writer, a director, a film critic and occasionally I cook. Here I will be mainly focusing on film critiquing.
This is Not a Drill
Over the course of this past weekend, I saw three movies… The other two don’t matter. Don’t worry about those. Your main concern should be The Invisible Man. Go see it. What? Did you want me to review this for you? Why? What’s the point? You’re wasting precious time when you could be seeing the best horror film to come out this year so far. Stop wasting your life reading my meaningless words. Go. Now! See The Invisible Man remake. In theaters. Right now. Do it! Maybe when you’ve settled down and are able to quit looking over your shoulder every five minutes, we can have a little chat about the great film we have now both just witnessed and connect in a way that has never been experienced before. We are now kindred spirits sharing Leigh Whannell’s brilliant filmmaking together… Isn’t it beautiful? Alright, alright, alright. Enough with the pillow talk, let us discuss.
Invisible Men of History
Admittedly, even though I grew up with the classic Universal monster flicks of the 1930s and so on, The Invisible Man was probably the one I came back to the least. Not to say I dislike the picture, I actually do still enjoy it. However, out of the countless others that I hold dear to my heart, The Invisible Man was like a friendly neighbor that I would wave to on occasion, but not invite into my own home for steak dinners too often. Then again, the concept has always been rather incredible to me. An invisible man… what are the possibilities of something like this? What could a person do with such a power? What would a person do given the opportunity to be anywhere and everywhere without a single soul on Earth being able to see that certain individual at all? There are so many ideas and angles a movie can go about with an inspired subject such as this and really have some fun in terms of themes, creative visuals, bizarre physical humor, or some rather suspenseful sequences.
- 'Memoirs of an Invisible Man' (1992) A Never Before Seen Movie Review
There's a new 'Invisible Man' movie out! I wonder if it'll be as good as when John Carpenter and Chevy Chase had a go at the material. Let's find out!
Some movies tend to explore the wacky shenanigans part of what an invisible man could do; like in the 1933 original The Invisible Man. Others try taking a look at the hardships of what happens to a person becoming invisible, such as with Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Hollow Man was a film determined to create a character study on the psychology of the individual who becomes corrupt with this particular power. My only issue I’ve had so far with pretty much every property to touch this subject is that none of them are all that scary. Don’t get me wrong, they can be fun and every now and again contain some relative suspense, but overall I’ve never been terrified of an invisible man… Until now.
Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) escapes the clutches of her abusive ex, but soon is met with news that he has committed suicide and leaves her with his fortune. Not long after though, Cecilia suspects that maybe her ex isn’t quite as deceased as she was led to believe. Cecilia experiences a string of strange occurrences that escalate to true danger in her daily life, as well as everyone around her. Once things go too far, Cecilia is determined to prove that she is being hunted by the man she once knew and that he cannot be seen.
Two Hours of Being on the Verge of a Heart Attack
From the opening frame, I was relishing this movie. There’s not going to be any beating around the bush here, I was engaged the very second the first credit popped onto the big screen in a creative visual effect that sparked delight in my experience right off the bat. Subtly crafting an ominous presence from the “invisible man” himself long before he vanishes from the naked eye. Slowly tightening the strings of tension every second until it inevitably snaps and I am left in sheer panic. Seriously, from everything we, as the audience, do and do not see, the film is continuously providing details for us to fear: as if at any moment, our antagonist could strike and only leave our heroine in more disarray.
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What works tremendously in this film is that it takes the tired horror movie trope where the protagonist is experiencing something rather absurd and potentially life threatening while everyone else around her is having a tough time understanding it, yet executes this cliché in a way that isn’t instantly aggravating to the viewer. We constantly see that Cecilia is trying desperately to figure out what is going on and determined to seek help, while simultaneously we see how her loved ones are also trying their best to accept and analyze what exactly she might be going through. No, they don’t just naively follow along that there’s supposedly an invisible man out to get her as that would be wildly goofy and unrealistic; however, we see that her friends and family are still being as supportive of her emotional state as humanly possible. So we’re still provided enough suspense from her situation without ever being distracted by the supporting characters becoming overly cynical douchebags only written to make the protagonist’s life more hellish. We get a genuine sense of friendship and bonds between all the characters so that we can understand exactly why everyone is led to their own conclusions on the matter of if Cecilia is going insane or not.
One Smart Move
I personally believe that director/writer Leigh Whannell took the idea of an invisible man in the most logical direction in order to provide the scariest outcome, which is essentially making the story into a stalker-thriller. Because of this unique approach, the narrative supplies a lot of nail-biting sequences that I was on the edge of my seat, even when a scene appeared to be completely mundane as two characters were casually chitchatting, I still remained wary of their surroundings. Whether it be because it felt as though they were always being watched by someone hiding in plain sight or our villain was somewhere in the background up to no good. At no point did I ever feel as though our lovable characters were safe. Even as they slept, a villainous presence continued lurking upon them. Or did he? Truth be told, I can’t be totally certain if our monster was actually there or not in many scenes. Which is another point for the film, instilling pure paranoia into every single moment of its own runtime. Maybe he was there, sometimes he definitely was, but was he always there? Watching and waiting to collect his prize or am I just going crazy myself? Crap. I’m scared again.
Moss, I’m fairly certain, has mastered the look of terror and stress within her performances at this point as she looks so physically and emotionally drained from the events that occur. By the end of it all I just wanted to give her a hug and some melatonin to get a little shut eye because I could tell she needed some rest. All joking aside, Elisabeth Moss is really great portraying this poor woman fresh out of a profusely oppressive and abusive relationship. Then as the weird happenings around her begin to transpire, her mental condition ultimately deteriorates as things get worse and worse. I particularly love that even though it’s clear that her theories of an invisible man are true, we still get a solid psychological component from the narrative as it is undeniable that our protagonist is not quite mentally stable anymore after her recent separation. Resulting in some devious trickery of the mind on how much is real and fabricated by her own delusions. Moss fantastically balances the intense dramatics that her character faces in this psychological torture, while also bringing in enough light and charm to care about her character. There wasn’t a second where I wasn’t rooting for her to overcome this evil man and finally be free from his unusually cruel reign of terror on her life.
This movie cost approximately seven million dollars… I want that to sink in that this visually stunning and near perfect special effects driven thriller only cost seven million dollars. Yet somehow every other studio is under the impression that in order to make the best looking movie possible, the budget needs to exceed into hundreds of millions of dollars. Why?! This is the perfect example of how lower budget films can accomplish just as much, if not more, than what a giant fire pit of money can achieve from the Hollywood machine. Don’t get me wrong, not every film can or should be restricted to this low of a production budget. Although there’s also no reason why films of this caliber or genre should be costing several times as much as The Invisible Man, when The Invisible Man looks absolutely phenomenal. If there was ever a lesser special effect somewhere in the picture, I definitely missed it as everything that I witnessed looked extremely spot-on. Not to mention that the special effects were utilized only when they were absolutely necessary and not simply implemented for no good reason to only add to a needlessly high budget. The blending of CGI and practical effects were done well and the cinematography was beautifully seamless through and through.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of Whannell’s work for a very long time; between the massive contributions he’s made in the horror genre with the Saw and Insidious franchises, then not to mention his awesome take on sci-fi/action in Upgrade which was legendary. Now to see how amazingly he can handle a horror remake bringing his own inspired ambition to the table, I am looking more forward to what this man has to offer in the future. Especially after finding out that he’ll be handling the Escape from New York remake, trust me when I say I have never been more excited for a remake than right now.
The Invisible Man is a slow burn, a methodical psychological thriller akin to what would have been seen in the early 1990s. The style and tone is spine chilling, Elisabeth Moss is captivating as we can sympathize and fear for her terrifying situation very easily, and I probably crapped my pants once… Possibly twice. No more than three times though, I’m a man after all. Please, if you haven’t already seen this movie and you’re in the mood for absolutely terrific suspense then look no further than to this picture right here. Fear what you cannot see and have yourself a creepy ride. I promise that you will enjoy!
Who Invisibled Better?
That’s All Folks!
The Invisible Man… What did you think? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Wonder what an invisible man needs with a knife…? Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a spooky day! Or don’t. Maybe don’t… Or do.
© 2020 John Plocar