Cinematic Releases: An Unseen Attacker -The Invisible Man (2020) - Reviewed

After a two year hiatus, creative genius Leigh Whannell, director of the SXSW darling Upgrade, returns to theaters with Universal's updated take on the classic story of The Invisible Man. Considering his long writing resume of genre films including the Saw series, Insidious, and Dead Silence, he was a great pick to bring this one up to speed. 

Starring the hyper talented Elisabeth Moss in a headlining role, this latest version takes us to new places that we haven't seen from this tale. Over the years there have been numerous retellings or new renditions, each with their own unique spin. Not until now have we had an Invisible Man that blends such vital modern elements of technology, brutal scenes of bone crushing violence, and nearly two hours of sheer tension directed at the screen. Using the core ideas of the original 1933 Universal Monster movie, Whannell takes the basics and whips them up into a frenzied plot that sees Moss use every bit of her emotive skill set to become completely unhinged but still a formidable foe for her unseen attacker.    

After escaping the clutches of a narcissistic boyfriend, who just so happens to be working on new technology in his laboratory, Cecilia begins experiencing strange happenings. Adopting a slow burn mixed with psychological horror that's soaked in dread, Whannell conceives a modernized tale that plays impeccably into many societal topics we're currently experiencing on a daily basis. Toxic males are definitely in the cross hairs here, which works wonders for bringing this into present times. Without ever becoming heavy handed, Whannell delivers a nearly a relatable script about abuse, devises a realistic presentation of victimized but powerful women, and then exacts a stunning third act that sees our female protagonist become the hero without ever relegating the story to standard tropes that could have easily involved sexual abuse or rape. 

Marked as mystery/sci-fi/thriller, this is definitely a horror film at the core. Blending many of the elements of the aforementioned Upgrade, Whannell uses his minuscule $9 million budget to amazing effect. Instead of wasting too much time on CGI effects or going overboard with visuals, this Invisible Man recreates something we haven't seen in years. Whannell and his team use perfected long shots and mood for suspense that will have his audience teetering on a full mental breakdown. 

After Universal's idea for a Dark Universe seemed to crash and burn when the Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy tanked at the box office, it seemed like the entire idea was dead. Well, The Invisible Man proves that their monsters are still relevant to modern times, even if they are humans cloaked by their own disturbing devices. This 2020 remake is one of the better films of the year so far that features dynamic scenery, Whannell's stunning visions on the uptake, and Moss killing the screen with her consummate use of unfurled emotion to control the moment.  Universal would be best to rethink and take aim at Whannell to take control of their 'brands'. He has an innovative attack that could see him working hand in hand with other directors to bring more 'creatures' to the screen. 

It's not often that a remake gets it right. The Invisible Man is one of the rarest gems in modern cinema. As a crossbreed of numerous genres and past movies, we strongly suggest seeing this one in the biggest and best theater you have access to. After Blumhouse's disappointing Fantasy Island, it's good to see them back on even keel with this one. This is probably the best movie they've ever been involved with. Horror is back in a good stride. 

-Chris George