‘The Invisible Man:’ A Fear You Can’t See (But You Should)

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Published June 8, 2020
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Cecilia Kass, played by Elizabeth Moss, stars in the horror remake of "The Invisible Man." Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Blumhouse Productions, a company that has slowly emerged from the shadows within the past decade, has taken on the remake of the classic psychological thriller, “The Invisible Man.”

After riling up critics from the thriller slasher film, “The Purge,and then taking an even larger leap with producing the horror film, “Get Out,” the company grabbed the attention of many audiences with the slasher film, “Halloween (2018).” Blumhouse Productions set the horror genre bar high and raised the hype on whatever was next on their agenda.

The studio tackling a remake of the classic horror monster known as, “The Invisible Man,” who stands head-to-head with Frankenstein or Dracula, was intriguing. However, it looks much more modernized than classic monster movies and novels.

Based on the previous backlash traditional monster films of the 21st century have had, a lot could have gone wrong. But, despite it’s ill-history, the film is a crowd-pleaser and a potential start for a monster cinematic universe.

“The Invisible Man,” follows Cecilia Kass, played by Elizabeth Moss, who has escaped from a violent relationship with Adrian Griffin, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and later finds out that he has allegedly committed suicide.

Cecilia then becomes haunted by some mysterious and unseen figure shortly after her ex’s death. She suspects that it’s Adrian but when nobody believes her, she decides to take matters into her own hands by fighting back. She goes through great lengths to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

The unsettling cinematic environment the film made is admirable. Moments when Cecilia is seemingly alone in a room yet there is someone breathing down her neck make the film scary without relying on the typical jump scares.

The musical score, composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, is perfect. I recall shaking in excitement over whatever happened next, largely due to the musical emphasis.

Anticipatory scenes were made whole by having shots of Cecilia in a wide-open space with no one else around, symbolically implicating that the “Invisible Man” was present somewhere in the frame.

The screenplay was exceptionally sharp when it came to twists and turns in the film. Jaws dropped as the “Invisible Man” made a murderous attempt in a public restaurant. Most horror movies would stray away from action happening in public spaces, but this one pulled a good jump scare that set a different tone for the remainder of the movie.

Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) being dragged down to a mental hospital in "The Invisible Man".

Cecilia is haunted and tormented by what she claims is an invisible person.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Although the overall film is exceptional, there are some critiques. For starters, the science behind this movie feels way too modernized. The original novel involved mixing chemicals that allowed Adrian to become invisible, but the remake relies on gadgets and technology.

It feels somewhat unsettling for a man to go above and beyond to spend millions of dollars just for the sake of tormenting an ex-girlfriend. It would be much cheaper for him to play around with chemicals.

The fight scenes with the invisible man are lackluster. For instance, Adrian becomes involved in an altercation with cops following technical difficulties with his invisibility suit. As the suit comes in and out of visibility, the cops choose not to aim and shoot him when they have him in their target.

Overall, “The Invisible Man” is a major leap for universal monsters that could potentially lead to an actual cinematic universe where Dracula and Frankenstein could coexist. Many films such as “The Mummy” have tried, yet failed.

The film is certainly an intense roller coaster filled with suspense. It touches upon true fear that presents itself when you cannot see what it is you’re fearing.

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, “The Invisible Man” was not able to remain in theaters. However, it is available for rental from the comfort of your own couch.

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