The Invisible Man (2020) review
Now you see him, now you don't. Is it a ghost? Perhaps so, but today's subject happens to be the Invisible Man. Though he got his start in the H.G. novel of the same name, a lot of people might remember him from the lineup of the classic Universal monsters. Unlike Dracula who has a sexual overtone or the Frankenstein monster who represents a science of unknown nature, the Invisible Man is an individual who has a dangerous power in his hands; an almost godlike power since no one can see him. He can pretty much strike without anyone knowing their being sought out for death.
Now since the remake of The Mummy failed to kick start another cinematic universe of classic monsters, what does The Invisible Man need to do different? Since they are monsters first, it had to find a modern way to make him scary. In the direction it takes, it explores toxic relationships and the psychology behind the dominating force. While it can happen to anyone, it unfortunately happens to women more often. Does the movie try to say something against men? No, The Invisible Man keeps to a smart situation by making the victim relatable no matter what gender.
It starts with a young woman Cecilia (played by Elisabeth Moss) making an escape from her abusive but intelligent boyfriend Adrian Griffin (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen). She escapes his large compound and barley gets away in her sister Emily's car when he tries to pursue her. She is taken to Emily's ex husband James (played by Aldis Hodge) and daughter Sydney (played by Storm Reid) to hide out where she's convinced Adrian will find her. News comes when it's said that Adrian had committed suicide. To add on more, in his will he left Cecilia five million dollars assumed she's mentally competent.
She tries to move on with her life, but even in death, she's not safe. At first little things start to happen like stoves being left on or her portfolio work turning up missing at a big interview. But when she senses his presence and even catches random things flying around, she's sure that Adrian has sound a way to become invisible just to torture her. Of course no one believes her, but it's made worse when emails are sent to make her look back and people get hurt. Will Cecilia be able to prove her case and find her invisible stalker?
The Invisible Man has the advantage of being both large and claustrophobic; as if you have a ghost consistently following you. You are always on the brink of figuring out if the invisible man is close or far away from Elizabeth Moss. It all has to do with here it wants her mind to be. The Invisible Man brilliantly makes her personality the type that would not only have fallen into this guys trap, but would have made her to be debatable if she is of sound mind.
All of it works thanks to Elizabeth Moss who is the kind of modern scream queen I want to see; someone who is half terrified by what could happen but a general curiosity to figure out how to stop it. I don't know if I can call her a feminist hero, but the movie shows what I call "good feminism"; the kind of feminism of her trying to fight against a man hurting her without slamming all men in general. Of course no one would believe a dead boyfriend coming back from the dead and had turned himself invisible. The movie continues to stack cards against her and she pushes forward.
The overall story doesn't put her ahead of him. The script does show him as much of a brilliant tactician as he is a sick individual who can't let go of anything. There's probably another story worth telling even before this started; one that shows her as a different woman before she fell into this relationship. Without saying what he does, he puts her into a position where you know this guy needs to die in order prevent a worse monster from being unleashed. I would love to see this a part of a larger universal monster cinematic universe.
I'll give this four and a half invisible men out of five. Though I wish the movie would have put her nerves front and center a little longer with more of a debate whether an invisible person could exist, it's a modern slasher that I hope aspiring storytellers can take notes from. It channels classic horror tropes with fear, then creates a sickening fear before ending the nightmare. I highly recommend this for any fan of horror and thrillers.