A Universal Upgrade

“The Invisible Man” is directed and written Leigh Whannell and is based loosely on the novel of the same name by H.G. Wells as well as a reboot of the original 1933 film. The film stars Elizabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman & Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Universal has been trying to revitalize their original monster universe. The first attempt was with 2017’s “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise but that film bombed commercially and critically. For this particular film, Johnny Depp was attached as the title character but after “The Mummy” failed, plans changed and now this film is not, as far as I know, a part of a cinematic universe.

One night, Cecilia Kass (Moss) drugs her wealthy yet abusive boyfriend, Adrian Griffin (Jackson-Cohen) in order to finally escape the nightmare of being in this relationship. With the help of her sister, Emily (Dyer) she manages to escape. Weeks go by as Cecilia is staying with her friend James (Hodge) who happens to be Emily’s ex-husband and their daughter, Sydney (Reid) but Cecilia still suffering from what can only be described as paranoia as she is struggles leaving the house. However, she is blindsided by the news of Adrian’s suicide, then his brother and lawyer, Tom (Dorman) informs her that he has left a hefty sum of money. Just as Cecilia is starting to get her life together, a bizarre series of events brings happening including shifting objects, personal things missing and even an usual mood swing which led to a sudden collapse. Despite trying to forget her past with Adrian, she can’t shake this unnerving feeling that maybe he could still alive in a paranormal way which then leads down very dark path and puts her mental health to the ultimate test.

This movie was a blast. From the very beginning, this movie creates an unbelievable sense of paranoia sets and holds onto it until very end. This movie is a pure definition of what a psychological thriller should be. Elizabeth Moss’ performance stands alone as both the standout and what carries the entire film. You put her performance along with the masterful cinematography and you got a fantastic film. The sense of paranoia is a call back to other films like 1984’s “The Thing” and I couldn’t help but to compare this to the 2000 film, “Hollow Man” with Kevin Bacon. While that movie was more of sci-fi horror film, this one is goes in a radical different direction with a modern tone.

Overall, this was a fantastic film with a good storyline, great cinematography and fantastic performance from our leading actress. Should Universal want give their monster universe another go and start here, then they have started on the right foot. While I don’t think “Dracula”, “The Wolf Man” or “Frankenstein” could work like this, it’s still worth a try. I could definitely see a “Jekyll and Hyde” story told with this particular tone and setting. The possibilities are endless but we’ll see how Universal will move forward.

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