Although I avoided any kind of spoilers before seeing The Invisible Man, I kind of thought that I knew what it was going to be about. As I sat down to actually watch it, I was quickly shown that I was correct in my assumptions. This didn’t matter to me however because I saw the potential quality that it could have if done properly. With films like this, you don’t mind it being predictable storywise as long as some parts are unique and inventive.
After escaping an abusive and controlling relationship, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) hopes to move on with her life with the help of her sister (Harriet Dyer) and their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge). Even after getting away from her abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), she’s still traumatized and has been living in constant fear. Once she hears of his apparent suicide, she begins to believe that things will improve. However, a series of eerie coincidences that threaten the lives of those she loves soon lead her to believe that her problems have only just begun.
For the most part, The Invisible Man is a well-made film. To be specific, I’m looking at the camera work, the acting, and a couple of well-timed twists more than anything. Although he wasn’t a director by trade originally, Leigh Whannell is showing that he’s growing into a legitimate all-around filmmaker. As shown here, he has the ability to take control of his projects in order to get the type of film that he wants.
Now with this and Upgrade on his resume, I’m interested in has coming up in the future. He’s been acting (not in this movie or Upgrade) and writing for a while now, but directing represents a new set of skills that he’s developing and adding to his repertoire. In my opinion, the likelihood of him getting better is strong due to his inventive mind and the desire to try at least a few new things.
What I liked the most outside of the technical aspects like the camera work and the sound was the acting. This is mostly due to following Elisabeth Moss around as she’s being tormented by an invisible menace who no one else believes is there. Just watching her go through this level of stress and violence is interesting and suspenseful. Most of the other actors (especially Aldis Hodge) that we frequently see here are solid across the board, but obviously, she stands out because she gets the most screen time and is required to do so much.
With all of that being said, The Invisible Man isn’t perfect by any stretch. For starters, I found the beginning of the film to be much slower than it needed to be. Most of what we get here as far as content is fine, but the film takes its time getting us to where we know we’re going to end up.
The opening act also offers us some of the familiar horror tropes that we’ve grown accustomed to over the past few years. A lot of it will remind you of movies like Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring, and of course Insidious. With Whannell having a background in the horror genre (including having a huge role in the Insidious franchise), it’s no surprise that he relied on that kind of stuff to help in creating this movie.
To me, this stuff is just too repetitive since we see this type of build up in the opening act of nearly every scary movie these days. However, there’s still value here if you can tolerate that and the needlessly slow pace. If so, this portion of the film will actually be quite enjoyable. I think moving ahead a bit quicker in order to get to the good stuff would have made this easier for me to take in. Obviously, not only would it have made The Invisible Man faster, but doing so would have also made it a more efficient movie as well.
Because there are a number of enjoyable things going on throughout the film, I think most will probably ignore that there are a number of plot holes and things that don’t make sense. If you want to, you can pick out a lot of the issues here pretty easily. Most probably won’t though as they’ll be going into this simply hoping for a good time. I was willing to ignore some of it as well, but in hindsight, I still found myself looking back at many of the things that didn’t make sense.
That’s mostly because of how the film concludes. I was willing to ignore most of the other issues, but the ending they chose to go with didn’t sit well with me. There’s a point where the story of the movie actually should have ended as it would have wrapped up everything in a mostly unique way. However, they decide to keep going and tack on a bit more than they should have. Doing so took away from the movie as Whannell chose to go down a more predictable path instead.
I understand why this predictable path was chosen since they had an overall message to push, but taking the route of predictability created more questions that couldn’t be answered when looking back at the story and everything that we were already told throughout the film. I don’t think that everything has to always make sense in a film, but I believe that you should always make things as logical as possible within the parameters of what’s created. That didn’t happen here. Some might not care as long as they get what they want out of it, but in analyzing films, I think it’s important.
In spite of its flaws, plenty of people will enjoy the 2020 version of The Invisible Man for what it is. And at the same time, I can see some being bored to tears due to the slow build-up that they’ll have to sit through. Personally, I don’t think the negatives outweigh the positives. Sure, they hinder what could have been a memorable, high-quality picture, but it’s hard to ignore the positive attributes that The Invisible Man has to offer.
Director: Leigh Whannell
Screenwriter: Leigh Whannell
Film Length: 122 minutes
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Distributor: Universal Pictures
- Score - 6.5/106.5/10