In hindsight, as much of the world is embroiled in a pandemic, battling a foe that cannot be seen with the naked eye, I’m not sure that a viewing of The Invisible Man was such a great idea. The feature is a worthy update of the classic horror movies of Hollywood’s golden age, for the #MeToo generation and for those social distancing and self quarantining.
These days, we don’t have to look too far for our monsters.
The Invisible Man has been made available for rental on digital platforms in the wake of movie theatre chains shuttering their doors due to precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic. When I queued it up, I was thinking a late Saturday night viewing of what I thought would be a reboot of the classic 1933 Universal flick (which was based on H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel) would be a fun diversion from the cares of the day.
A few minutes in, with the simple kicking of a metal dog dish across a tile kitchen floor, I knew I was wrong. Painfully, horribly, irrevocably wrong. It was a diversion, all right, but “fun” doesn’t quite tell the story. I sat frozen in my seat for much of the film, and almost had to manually snap my jaw shut as the final credits rolled.
Is the film’s protagonist losing her mind, or has her estranged, abusive husband found a way to return from the grave, and seemingly turn himself invisible, to terrorize her?
Director Leigh Whannell is amazing, keeping viewers from a clear look at the film’s villain until we’re almost two hours into The Invisible Man. And Elizabeth Moss in the lead role carries the film from its first frame until its heart-stopping finale. The movie even breaks formula with the casting of one key character, and at least 12 percent of the U.S. population will be thrilled about it.
The Invisible Man inadvertently poses a few questions that make the overall narrative a bit hard to swallow. How much power should a single email wield? How much impact does it take for a car’s air bag to deploy? Would invisibility accompany super human strength or invulnerability to bullets, but not a can of mace? And does marrying a tech genius make one a tech genius in her own right?
But overall, The Invisible Man is a popcorn thriller that works, delivering more than enough jumps and bumps in the night to get the heart racing and keep you up for awhile. It’s Sleeping With The Enemy meets Silence Of The Lambs meets Predator.
As I said, sometimes you can’t see the monster that lurks before you, be it a nouveau virus like COVID-19, or a smiling face like Harvey Weinstein’s, Bill Cosby’s, or Matt Lauer’s.
Or, a good old-fashioned Invisible Man.