Warning: Although this is a movie about a man that can’t be seen, spoilers are clearly visible and will completely ruin your day. That is, if you plan to see this film. If not, what’s your problem? This review will explain that.
Ask yourself: What would you do if you could make yourself invisible?
The idea of invisibility is a concept long explored in the entertainment industry. Mainly popular in the super hero genre, these special abilities would be used for good to protect the earth and defeat the villains.
This idea dates back to the first Fantastic Four comic in 1961, which featured the heroic character Sue Storm and her family of world-saving superheroes.
But, what if this extraordinary gift was to fall into the hands of somebody with more insidious motives? That’s the foundation of a soft reboot of The Invisible Man, the original movie of the same name released back in 1933; yet, establishing a more modern twist.
The results make for a truly nerve-racking movie.
Despite being a fictional movie, the focal point of this story is centered on the horrifying reality of a domestic abuse victim, which is presented immediately as the movie begins.
The lead character, Cecilia “Cee” Kass (played by Elisabeth Moss), slowly and nervously creeps out of the bed she is sharing with her abuser, armed with a map to help her escape. Terrified that he will catch her trying to leave, she doses him with pills to knock him out allowing her to turn off the security alarms and cameras.
Her sister, Emily (played by Harriet Dyer), has no idea of the struggles that were plaguing Cecilia but is there to help her escape. Petrified to turn to somebody for help, Cee is alone, broken, and worried about her future.
Why? He wanted to have children, which was the final motivation Cee needed to escape. She secretly took birth control pills because she couldn’t live with the idea of a man so evil and controlling raising her innocent child.
After a harrowing but successful escape attempt, Cecilia remains scarred from the physical and mental torture she received as she hides out in the home of her childhood friend James Lanier (played by Aldis Hodge).
She is so afraid to leave the house, a panic attack sets in even when she attempts to walk to the mailbox. Elisabeth Moss sells these scenes incredibly well, which sweeps you up in the same emotion and horror her character experiences. Constantly, we are reminded of Cee’s horrifying ordeal that is very real for countless women (and even some men) today.
An Invisible Man
Making the audience feel a sense of dread toward the antagonist Adrian Griffin/The Invisible Man (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen) was a crucial component to making the movie a success (a $7M budget earning more than $100M so far).
Due to the fact you don’t see him all (much), other ways were needed to convince you of Adrian’s sinister intentions. A top scientist in his field of optics, his sheer intelligence leads him to create the technology of an invisible suit. With an obviously high IQ and a narcissistic, controlling ego, he is as dangerous as they get.
Armed with a sadistic plan, Adrian fakes his death, puts on his invisibility suit, and begins to haunt, torment, and even kill anyone for whom Cecilia cares. Adrian Griffin is fully in control and he wants Cecilia to know it. With the suit at his disposal, Adrian begins to toy with Cecilia, driving her to paranoia, framing her for the murder of her own sister, and turning everyone against her.
Eventually framing his own brother, Tom Griffin (played by Michael Dorman), as the one who was responsible for everything, Adrian is truly a villain who feels no remorse and will not let anything — or anyone — get in the way of him and his plan.
This is my favourite villainous role so far this year and one that looks like it will be very tough to beat.
Director Leigh Whannell has created a twisted, mastermind villain that has the potential to be placed in the list of other horror villain greats.
The Invisible Man has a unique trait of making you feel nervous from something as little as just panning the camera out into an empty room. Using constant build-up of tension and suspense, with limited yet finely placed jump scares, you will not be left to rest until the movie is finished. Even then, its effects stay with you long after.
One shocking scene involves Cecilia on the verge of a psychological breakdown, making a last-ditch effort to convince those she loves that Adrian is alive and torturing her. Inviting her sister out to dinner to try and make her see the truth, completely unaware that Adrian was standing right behind her.
A floating knife looms over her as she unexpectedly witnesses her sister’s throat get cut, only for the knife to be placed into her hands. Cee is framed for murder and tossed in a psychiatric hospital.
This was a brief slow down point in the plot to which one member of the audience in my screening saw it as an opportunity to use the restroom only to come back a mere minute later to the aftermath of the shocking, bloody scene that had left the audience stunned.
This movie holds nothing back.
The Invisible Man is a relentlessly nerve-racking cinematic experience. It provided a modern day twist on the classic monster movie, deeply rooted with the inclusion of heartbreaking real-life issues. A refreshing take on the classic villain and full of non-stop tension and surprise, this film will leave you fully engaged from start to finish. You will not want to look away… not even for a second.
Elisabeth Moss is outstanding in the lead protagonist role with the potential to be one of the best performances we will see all year.
Is this the beginning of a new franchise of successfully rebooted Universal Pictures monster movies?