Finally, another 2020 release I got watch. Unfortunately, this is only the third film that came out in 2020 that I have seen (Tenet, The Devil All the Time).
The Invisible Man was directed by Leigh Whannell and stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid. For those who may recognize Whannell’s name, he wrote the first three Saw movies and the first two Insidious films. He is a staple in the horror genre and just crafted one of the best modern horror films I have ever seen. The Invisible Man is a masterpiece.
It’s very rare for a director to take an old, well-known story like The Invisible Man, give it a modern narrative and have it still be great.
This film follows Cecilia Kass (Moss) attempting to escape from her abusive boyfriend Adrian Griffin, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. When she finds out that he committed suicide, she finds some relief in it but that is short-lived as sequences happen to make her believe that she is being stalked by him. Since Adrian is a master in the field of optics, Cecilia tries to convince her friends Adrian has made himself invisible but, of course, everyone thinks she’s crazy.
One aspect of this film that I appreciated the most is the use of empty space in the shots. It plays with your mind to make you believe that Adrian is somewhere in every shot and it is up to the audience member to figure out when he’s actually in the shots versus when he’s not. It leads to some gripping tension that never lets go. I was on the edge of my seat by the time we get the first scenes with invisible Adrian.
There are some pacing issues early on. Some shots linger super long but it helps you establish the tone of this film and how the tension is going to play out. This is my only nitpick with this movie as we then get one of the strongest third acts ever put to screen in the horror genre.
Just as you think the ending will be straight-forward and feel-good for Cecilia, Whannell throws a 12-6 curveball at us, subverting our expectations and leaving everything open to our interpretation. There’s one scene leading into the third act that will make you question the reality of what you are watching. No spoilers. It’s very abrupt but it happens fast. If it’s not something you pay attention to, it will go right over your head.
By the time the movie ends, you have this double-edged sword as to where you hate Whannell for making you really think about what you just watched in the last half-hour but you appreciate the fact that he doesn’t treat his audience as idiots. Nothing is spoon fed to you and I absolutely adore Whannell for doing it.
This is easily my favorite modern horror film and I cannot recommend it enough.
7 down, 24 to go.