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The Invisible Man 2020 Full Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews

When, following the box office failure of its 2017 The Mummy reboot, Universal scrapped plans to launch its eagerly touted Dark Universe franchise of interconnected monster movies, the studio announced that it would instead adopt a more modest strategy, drawing on its storied corporate legacy to resuscitate old Universal horror characters in standalone “filmmaker-driven” vehicles, with the goal of fostering a cycle of auteurist studio horror films designed to “appeal to modern audiences.” As Universal’s first outing under this new model, The Invisible Man (from actor-turned-writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell) hints at a new paradigm: in a loose update on James Whale’s comparatively faithful 1933 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s novel, the titular monster is liberated from the moral ambivalence of the old Universal antihero archetype. Instead, the story centers on the object of his predation, rehousing the monster in a more modern horror storytelling formula that pits an unequivocally villainous antagonist—here, an abusive and hyper-controlling husband who becomes vindictive when his wife leaves him—against a virtuous and eminently sympathetic heroine.

Her name is Cecilia Kass, though tellingly, it will be some time before we know this; here, the Australian writer-director Leigh Whannell sympathetically suggests, is a woman robbed of her personhood. She’s been planning her daring escape for a while, and for good reason: The house, overlooking a stretch of Bay Area coast, is a maximum-security fortress, a modernist maze of surveillance cameras that speak to the ruthlessly controlling mind of their owner. That would be Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a wealthy scientist and sadistic abuser who, upon realizing that Cecilia has left him, devises one hell of a revenge scheme.

That isn’t a spoiler, never fear — or maybe you should. A smart and satisfyingly nasty piece of work, “The Invisible Man” has its roots in H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel, which was previously adapted into the 1933 film directed by James Whale. It’s nominally the latest Universal Pictures reboot of one of its classic horror properties, but happily, it has nothing in common — in terms of plot, style or quality — with 2017’s risible update of “The Mummy.” Instead it’s elegant and diabolically poised, a familiar story expertly retooled for an era of tech-bro sociopathy and #MeToo outrage, but also graced with an insistently human pulse. Studio brand extensions rarely feel this intimate, this personally unnerving.

MOVIE INFO

After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back.

It honestly makes sense to update The Invisible Man, not just because of the sure-why-not technology that Adrian employs to render himself invisible (he’s described as a “world leader in the field of optics” lol), but because the film has clear echoes of the #MeToo movement. Cecilia is every woman who has been stalked and controlled by an abusive and vengeful partner. But remember—there’s another face that Elisabeth Moss has proven to be good at table-turning, ass-kicking revenge face. Will she get her chance to wield it here? Watch and find out.

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Genre: Reviews