No Dark Universe, no problem.
After the shared cinematic universe idea for Universal’s famous movie monsters crashed, plans were reworked to have more independent, individual films. The first one up is “The Invisible Man,” written and directed by Leigh Whannell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia, a woman who just left her abusive boyfriend.
Cecilia is shaken from the relationship and is left with anxiety, fearing that her ex, Adrian, (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) will come after her. However, she soon learns that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Just as she begins trying to rebuild her life, though, Cecilia begins to feel stalked and terrorized by an unseen force, which she believes is Adrian.
While the antagonist is invisible in this movie, the suspense is palpable. “The Invisible Man” gets an audience engaged right from the start with a thrilling sequence of Cecilia escaping and from there, the character’s anxiety and paranoia is so well portrayed that it transcends on to the audience.
As the movie enters its second act and the invisible antagonist makes itself more pronounced, the movie becomes more thrilling, keeping an audience on the edge of their seat. Adding to the drama of the feature is how Cecilia is alone in dealing with the situation, as no one else believes what she’s saying.
What makes a lot of this work is a phenomenal performance from Moss, who is really convincing as someone who’s trying to recover from an abusive relationship. She sells it wonderfully in the first half. Then, in the second half, Moss nicely portrays her character’s resolve to survive the situation.
Another positive here is just how well the invisible foe aspect was incorporated. The filmmaking crew deserve a lot of credit for bringing this concept to life convincingly. There are several moments, such as when Cecilia is being stalked or attacked, that are crafted so well, that it just adds to the tension. Likely the best example of this is an amazing scene taking place in a restaurant.
“The Invisible Man,” has some detriments, though. However, one of them will vary person to person. There are several moments where the film wants a person to suspend their disbelief a lot, and personally, it pushes that boundary too far. For a movie having a more grounded take on the “Invisible Man” source material, there are times when things just don’t make sense.
Another issue with this feature is its runtime. “Invisible Man” runs over two hours and it probably could’ve been somewhat shorter. This is especially noticeable when the movie keeps going after reaching its supposed climax.
It was also noticeable that this retelling of the “Invisible Man” tale didn’t go in as heavy on the science fiction element. Although, this could be explored more in a sequel if one is made.
Overall, though, “The Invisible Man” is still a quality thriller. Moss gives a great lead performance, the rest of the cast is strong, the story unfolds nicely and the special effects are on point. 3.75 out of 5.