The Invisible Man (2020)
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
I have a confession to make. I almost slept on this movie. I saw the trailer, wasn't impressed, and judging by how horrible every remake of the classic monster movies are (that garbage Wolfman remake and the even more garbage Tom Cruise's The Mummy chief among them) I just kind of automatically assumed that The Invisible Man would be a dumb, cheesy Blumhouse cash grab. Then I saw the reviews. Certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes? General praise for the movie from all sides? The curiosity was too much to ignore and as of the time of this writing I am fresh out of the theater from my screening. Does The Invisible Man earn the praise that it's getting? Let's dive in and as always, spoilies. Don't say I didn't warn ya'.
The Invisible Man is written and directed by Leigh Whannell, who as far as directing goes, only has one other movie under his belt in Upgrade. Starring Elizabeth Moss and that's pretty much it, the movie focuses on Cecelia (Moss) who is fresh out of an abusive relationship and trying to recover only to find out that her ex-boyfriend Adrian has apparently committed suicide. Instead of feeling relieved about this, however, Cecelia feels an overwhelming sense of dread as she begins to suspect that Adrian did not in fact kill himself and has somehow become invisible in order to stalk and terrorize her. With a stunning 90% approval rating from critics and 89% approval from audiences, I admit that I didn't go into the movie with the highest of expectations, but that was certainly enough to raise an eyebrow.
The first thing I want to talk about is the fact that the antagonist is invisible, which makes it very difficult for your actors to A) convey tension accurately when they're just in a room by themselves and B) make it appear as though they are interacting with something that isn't there. The Invisible Man pulls off both of these spectacularly. With clever wire work and CGI when necessary, all of the actors, Elizabeth Moss especially, do a great job of interacting with essentially nothing. Also, given the fact that it's just Elizabeth Moss alone in a room for a good portion of the run time, the movie does a very good job of instilling tension. This is mostly due to Moss' performance, but the overall lack of music in these moments definitely adds to it. Music really only comes in and swells as the camera is either lingering on an empty hallway or an empty doorway or Elizabeth Moss looking scared before we cut to the next scene. Also there are only a couple of jump scares and they're used very sparingly and effectively so I'm giving them a pass.
Before I move on to the story as a whole I do want to touch a little bit more on the acting. I haven't seen hardly any movies with Elizabeth Moss in them, I think the only other one I've seen her in is Us, so as a leading lady I didn't have anything to go on and overall I really liked her performance. I was right there with her as she descends down the rabbit whole of gas-lighting that Adrian does to her and she conveys that sense of hopelessness very well, even as she tries to take matters into her own hands and then climbs up to finally being in control by the end of the movie. The supporting cast also does a fine job, even though they don't get much screen time.
Now let's get into the meat and potatoes of this film. It's a pretty straight forward plot. Girl leaves boy, boy builds optics suit that renders him invisible, boy terrorizes girl, girl gets thrown in a psychiatric hospital, people die, girls ends up killing boy. Standard stuff. And most of it works pretty well, save for one GIGANTIC plot hole that turns up around halfway through the movie. At this point Cecelia is certain that Adrian isn't dead and is somehow stalking her while invisible. To try and prove this to herself, she calls Adrian's phone which she can hear buzzing above her. She goes into the attic and finds his phone along with a few other things that had gone missing earlier in the film. Oh his phone she can see pictures that were taken of her while she was sleeping. This is clear, obvious evidence that would prove her case and she doesn't tell anyone about it, she doesn't take any of it with her, nothing. The rest of the movie could have gone completely differently if it weren't for this one scene, and I honestly wish it weren't in the film. You can still have the movie play out the exact same way without her finding the phone and it would make way more sense. I kept thinking to myself "when are they going to resolve this" but they never do. Thankfully, the movie is entertaining enough that by the time we hit the third act I didn't really care that the plot hole went unresolved, but it irks me knowing that all could have been avoided by just cutting out that scene.
I also have mixed feelings about the suit that Adrian uses to go invisible. It's just a body suit covered in cameras. How does that make you invisible? Also completely silent? Those are just more personal gripes, it doesn't ruin the movie not knowing the answers to those questions. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how the suit works, just that it does. Personal nitpicks aside I really like the modern take and that it wasn't some weird science experiment gone wrong or gamma radiation or anything like that.
Overall, I really liked this movie. It isn't a must-see in theaters, but I would recommend that everyone watch it at some point. I'd give a solid B+. If you've seen The Invisible Man or even if you haven't and want to talk about it anyway, leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts about it!