I was very happy Blumhouse took over the reins of ‘The Invisible Man’ after the success it had with the amazing reboot of Michael Meyers in 2018’s ‘Halloween.’ So my expectations were already set to a decent size standard, and I am happy to say this movie definitely met those expectations.
Led by a powerhouse performance from Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men (TV)”, “Handmaid’s Tale (TV)”) and tension-filled writing and direction by Leigh Whannell (“Upgrade”, “Saw”), ‘Invisible Man’ does more with a $7 million budget than most big-budget movies can because the story is front and center.
The story is why I really cherish Blumhouse productions because they choose to hire those who care about their stories and characters. If this was put in the wrong hands, we could have had a completely different movie and been miserable watching it. I am mostly comparing what Blumhouse did with this to 2017’s The Mummy’ reboot that crashed hard and doomed that entire Icon franchise.
Like his previous effort ‘Upgrade’, Whannell takes a realistic situation and beefs it up with a sci-fi element that escalates into horror. The way he builds tension through panning around made me kind of excited. I started to play a game with myself while watching, because I wanted to see if I could catch the ‘Invisible Man’ myself.
He would pan away from the characters to empty parts of scenery and would let it set on emptiness which had the audience decide whether someone was there. You could almost picture Whannell giddy in his director’s chair while the audience is squirming and squinting to see if there’s something wrong with the curtains or a simple towel.
Moss comes in with a history of characters who fight back when pushed down, but we haven’t seen her et this physical before. It’s like she combined all of her past roles and amped it to 10, and she never loses the audience throughout the film. Moss always sells fear and sorrow through her eyes, and then breaks the smile out to let us know that everything will be all right.
With a small budget, the special effects weren’t going to be the best, but it worked well. One scene involving a dinner between Cecilia and her sister Emily, Harriet Dyer, (“The InBetween (TV)”) proved to be the horror highlight of the film since the effects were used very subtly.
A fight between Cecelia and the Invisible Man also proved to be another action-heavy highlight but that was shown in the trailer so I was expecting that.
What I didn’t enjoy about the film was that it wasn’t too scary. Yes, the tension was built in the beginning of the film, but it’s very hard to keep the horror aspect up based on this type of character. The audience catches on as soon as she does, and it starts to become an action/thriller rather than a horror film.
I hope they leave this film be and don’t make any sequels since it is fine as a stand-alone. What we need more though is a lot more Moss on the big screen. Give her a bad ass action role and I promise that she won’t ever become invisible from Hollywood.