"Take my hand ... And then watch me try to kill you with the other one!" Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) showers while an unbeknownst presence keeps watch in a scene from Saw-alum Leigh Whannell's THE INVISBLE MAN. Credit: Universal Pictures. © 2020 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid and Michael Dorman 

DIRECTOR(S): Leigh Whannell

THE BACK STORY: Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) is an architect that seemingly has it all given that the house she lives in is nothing short of a multi-million dollar beachfront palatial estate in San Francisco. But that doesn't explain why Cecilia is attempting to flee in the middle of the night, now does it? No, that answer comes in the form of the abuse Cecilia claims her now ex, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has heaped upon her mentally and physically. Barely escaping, Cecilia takes refuge with a childhood friend turned police detective in James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). 

Then Adrian's brother – and the director of his estate – Tom (Michael Dorman) informs Cecilia and her sister Alice (Harriet Dyer) with bombshell news: Adrian, a tech magnate who built his fortunate in the field of optics, has committed suicide and left her millions to be paid out in increments of $100,00 over the next few years – as long as she doesn't commit any crimes and lives a generally good life. There's just one problem ...

Cecilia, over the course of a series of rather weird and unfortunate events, becomes convinced Adrian is still alive. And he's apparently determined to drive her insane – or worse. Thus, Cecilia is forced to answer a question most people would never ponder.

How do you prove someone who is supposed to be dead is very much alive and torturing you when no one – including you – can see them?
THE REVIEW: There are typically two types of movies released in the first few months of a new year: (1) Award contenders/art house endeavors that studios hope get that one last push before the statues are given out and (2) films that the studios greenlighted ... But in retrospect probably wish they hadn't (Fantasy Island, anyone?) But, every once in a while, you get those "'tweeners:" Movies that have elements that are somewhat enjoyable and fun ... Even though you know in your heart you really wouldn't call it a "good" movie.

About one hour into writer/director Leigh Whannell's (the Saw and Insidious franchises) take on the often forgotten (no pun intended) member of Universal's monsters, it becomes quite apparent The Invisible Man matches the last description to a "T."

On the pro-side, Moss delivers enough of an emotional performance to drive The Invisible Man, which is essentially a domestic abuse tale examining what happens to victims at the hands of their accusers. Moss carefully walks the line between movie dramatics and emotionally believability to keep her character's credence valid, never giving in to the temptation to go bad 80s horror movie scream queen at each abusive turn. She is by far the most interesting character on screen, making her character interesting enough to keep watching the film to its climax. There's also enough twists and turns to keep you intrigued in what will happen, a must in a film where too much predictably could have been present.

On the con-side, however, the majority of characters that aren't Moss – Dorman is acceptable as Adrian's brother – are lackluster in either direction or execution (again, no pun intended). Likewise, most of the scenes where Moss and others are attacked by, well, an invisible assailant just feel cartoonish despite the cast and crew's best efforts. Thus, you get a mixed bag of push/pull that keep the film from diving too far off the deep end, but a lot of missed opportunities that could have pushed it into groundbreaking territory. However, by focusing on Moss' character's pain, The Invisible Man basically becomes a metaphor for all the abuse women have suffered at the hands of men in the #metoo era – and a stern warning to men about what could happen if they refuse to stop it.

All things considered, The Invisible Man isn't a great movie by any means, but it's not a completely unwatchable mess, either. It's more a simple thriller for those seeking a simple thriller, but one that may catch fire due to today's current socio-political climate. Some people may hate it, some people may love it – and arguments can be made to justify both's point of view objectively.

Just don't say you weren't warned, however, if you come expecting to "see" something more.



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