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Film Review: The Invisible Man (2020)

The Invisible Man (2020) is a horror from Blumhouse Pictures and is an adaptation of the novel from H.G. Wells and a reboot of the original film series from the 1930s. Directed by Leigh Whannell (writer of Saw and Insidious), this film stars Elizabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid. When Cecelia learns about the suicide of her boyfriend weeks after she ran away from him, she becomes paranoid that he has found a way to torture her by being invisible.

This film hangs on the balance of Cecelia, so it is vital that Elizabeth Moss is good here. In true style, Moss gives an outstanding performance here in a role that is surely going to be snubbed once again come awards season. This is a heartbreaking performance that could have gone wrong on so many levels, yet Moss never crosses those lines. She knows when to go insane and act crazy, yet she also knows when to reel it in and let the emotions tell the story. She is given such a complex role to fill, one that can make a person believe that she is mentally unstable but also one that the audience can get behind. The film balances between the two beautifully here, alongside Moss’s performance.

As someone who was quite unaware of the previous iterations of this story, I was not expecting such a dark and mature storyline from a horror film like this. I was worried when I realised from the start that this film would be talking about domestic abuse, and yet the horror elements never went too far with that storyline, instead making it more of a driving plot and handling it sensibly. This storyline not only added a journey and motive for the characters to have, including an incredible and thrilling opening sequence, but also had an important message to it which I appreciated.

With the villain of this film being invisible, this is one film that had to rely on the special effects and cinematography to capture the haunting spirit of what was on screen. Whilst it takes time to do this, a lot of the horror elements work because of this. It is incredibly impressive to see what they pulled off with such a small budget, making the audience truly believe he was there in the background without even seeing him for a majority of the film. Even when he is revealed, it is done effectively and there is some incredible stunt choreography work to pull all of this off.

There are several sub-plots that are written into the story, some of which I adored. Whilst the connection between Cecelia’s sister Emily and friend James could have been stronger, I really liked the story we get to see with James and his daughter. There are great moments within that, some that deal with the struggle of being a parent and doing whatever to protect their children. There are some storylines that intrigued me, such as Cecelia wanting to get a job being an architect. However, these moments are fleeting and seemed to only be used to transition from one moment to another, not as their own plot that could have been further developed.

The concept of the villain and being invisible is smart, particularly for the horror genre. However, there are several plot-twists with the villain and I did not care about the background at all. This, to me, felt like the film had a great idea with some fun visual moments involving a villain that you cannot see, and yet because of that any connection to that villain feels disconnected and emotionless. The twists are sadly predictable and feel quite forced, which added to the lack of care that I felt for them.

Unfortunately, this film also suffers from pacing issues throughout. From what was a very strong opening sequence, the next hour feels heavy of exposition that doesn’t fully connect characters or their situations and is more drama-based, losing a lot of the horror elements from it. It is not until the last forty minutes that the tension truly comes back, going back to the strong horror elements that the film opened with. It does not have to be jump scares to be scary, but I also was not a fan of long moments of just dialogue and lingering shots, creating false tension and a lack of atmosphere.

This is overall a strong film from Blumhouse, but more of a strong drama and thriller rather than a horror. It could have been shortened a bit, but I thought that the serious subject matters in the film were well handled and provided a strong and compelling story. I would recommend it and encourage you to check it out as soon as you can.

3.5/5

Have you had a chance to see The Invisible Man yet? Were you a fan of the original film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section down below.

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