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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'The Invisible Man' Review: Elisabeth Moss Fights Air In A New Take On Sci-Fi Horror

Elisabeth Moss looking up at a rack
Universal Pictures

The Invisible Man is another remix made from H.G. Wells’ classic novel of the same name, this time mixing it with the modern times and themes. Perhaps slightly less interested in the physical horror and jumpy aspects, there’s a bit more focus on sci-fi technology and emotional trauma of horrors. It manages to quite successfully create an unsettling feeling throughout the first half and keep the plot twists interesting enough in the second.

Biggest strength that the movie has is its way of using domestic abuse as the story’s main motivation. There is real horror on what you can’t control so it’s fitting when the abuse is something you can’t see and therefore control. Also good for the creatives involved that it’s only half of it as after that it’s weaved into the more typical sci-fi-ish things. Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia is an absolute star in the role, the hard subject matter requires a committed performance from the lead and she gives just that.

There is a great kitchen scene between Cecilia and her mad scientist boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), the titular invisible man, where Moss gets to do some difficult stunt-like work which is captured with what seems like pre-programmed camera movements. Her pairing with Aldis Hodge (James) also works as their friendship comes off believable immediately as they both get to match up as actors several times.

This is pretty similar in style for director and writer Leigh Whannell as his previous film 'Upgrade' in 2018. Camera tracking and framing he and cinematographer Stefan Duscio use are sometimes exactly the same, which done sparsely is a nice creative motif. Good thing is that Whannell does also serve the story with something new, carving out space for the invisible so the viewer knows to look for something they can’t even see. The ending, as in the last 20 minutes, is the movie’s weakness as it’s just not as explosive, surprising or thrilling as everything before that. Last sequence felt a bit too safe, almost fanfic-y in the sense that it has neither horror nor sci-fi elements but it’s more like a fantasy that people usually bury deep in their mind.

Smileys: Story, Elisabeth Moss, directing, Aldis Hodge

Frowneys: Ending

Did they cut out all the scenes where the invisible messes with the security cameras?


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