'The Invisible Man' Movie Review
My reaction to the first trailer of the latest Blumhouse suspense thriller The invisible Man was one of intrigue and excitement. We’ve seen the H.G. Wells story interpreted and reimagined on the big screen over the years with classics like the 1933 Universal film The Invisible Man and major flubs like the 2000 letdown Hollow Man. So when writer/director Leigh Whannell set out to create a new interpretation of the classic tale in a “Me Too” movement era, the concept seemed very original and innovative. And after this film which was made on a $7 million dollar budget opened this weekend to $29 Million and glowing reviews, I knew I was in for a treat… Boy was I completely blindsided.
After the 2-hour 10-minute film wrapped, I looked at my husband and said, “What a letdown!”
It’s not usual for a horror film to receive such rave reviews from both critics and moviegoers and The Invisible Man has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from viewers. After giving myself two days to write this review, I thought it would give me the opportunity to look past what I thought was my own critical confusion of this suspenseful thriller but 48 hours later, I am still so disappointed with this underwhelming bore and wasted opportunity of a film.
The film starts out very Sleeping with the Enemy-style. We have a woman who escapes her abusive husband in the middle of the night, leaving behind their palatial home and fortune so she can start a new life. I’m sure Whannell thought he was being crafty by not showing us what led our lead character to escape her husband. We are supposed to assume the emotional and physical abuse was so bad that we didn’t need to witness any of it. But that’s just the beginning of the weak character arcs throughout this entire film. After our lead character escapes her abusive husband Adrian, she stays with her friend James and his teenage daughter Sydney. James is a cop and there is no story behind these two characters and we have no clue as to why Elisabeth Moss seems so comfortable running away to stay with her friend who is a Police Officer and yet James doesn’t take any action whatsoever once he learns of the abuse Cecilia suffered. He spends most of the film telling her she is crazy.
Shortly after Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) escapes her Scientist husband Adrian, she finds out that he has killed himself and after meeting with his Lawyer brother Tom, she learns that she has inherited all of her "deceased" husband's money. From then on, we have a very, very, very slow decent into madness as Cecilia becomes taunted by her husband who she believes has found a way to make himself invisible. On paper, this all sounds really interesting but the execution in the film is so weak and very corny at times. The fact that Cecilia’s friend and sister are completely unsympathetic to her after she begins being tormented by the Invisible Man makes no sense whatsoever. Again, it ties into the very weak character arc that makes you not care about a single one of these characters besides our leading star who I will say delivers a fantastic performance as a woman on the brink of insanity.
The length of this film really bothers me because we get this intense sequence in the very beginning of the film, and then we get 45 minutes of unnecessary dialogue, weak character development, and a very silly scene in which Cecilia passes out at a job interview (You just inherited $5 million dollars and escaped an abusive relationship two weeks ago, why are you applying for jobs?)
The scenes in which Cecilia faces off with the Invisible Man are built up quite well in terms of suspense and there is one sequence in a restaurant that makes the story take a drastic turn that I will say I was not expecting and for about 25 minutes I did enjoy the film.
Back to The Invisible Man… there are two big problems I have with this film and I will get to the other one in a moment. The first problem I have is not that it’s completely ridiculous to assume a man can make himself invisible, what is ridiculous is that he is somehow an action hero. The underlying plot of this film is that we are supposed to believe that Cecilia’s husband has made himself invisible and is determined to destroy her life. 3/4s into the film, the Invisible Man goes from hunting a singular character to beating up a police force. This scene in particular is so incredibly corny and ridiculous.
The second problem I have with The Invisible Man is one that I’m not sure a lot of people noticed, but I certainly did and that is the film’s musical score. Talk about cringy! The musical tracking throughout the film is so unnecessarily inserted into scenes that don’t need it that it completely takes away the fear factor from the film. And not only that, but I seriously thought my ears would rupture from the intense sound of the score. In the final shot of the film, I couldn’t tell if I was flinching at the predictably lackluster ending or the horrific score.
The one positive I can say about The Invisible Man is the multidimensional performance of Elisabeth Moss. She really does pull out all the stops here and does a great job at playing a woman who has been beaten down emotionally and physically and who finally makes the decision to no longer be a victim and put a stop to the psychological abuse thrown at her despite what may not all be 100% true.
It may seem like I absolutely hated this movie and on many levels I did. And it really comes from a place of disappointment at the pretentious execution of a unique premise.
The Invisible Man initially received a 4/10 rating from me due to Moss’s intense performance and a intriguing beginning but the film’s horrendous score brings it down 2 points for me! 👎🏻 MY FINAL THOUGHT: Save your money and enjoy your Netflix and chill ❌
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