The Invisible Man (2020)

4 Jun

Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

With a concept like an invisible stalker, I feel three things need to handled exactly right–1) the directing and atmosphere, 2) the cinematography, and 3) the leading performance.

To say Blumhouse’s “The Invisible Man” handled all three of these crucial elements exactly right would be an understatement—in fact, I was surprised by how effective “The Invisible Man” was. I didn’t think a recent stalker-thriller could give me chills and keep me on the edge of my seat anymore–this one did, and the stalker’s INVISIBLE!

The film was directed and written by Leigh Whannell, whose work I’ve admired before, particularly in writing the first Saw and directing the underrated “Upgrade”–I think he outdid himself here.

The cinematography from Stefan Duscio is also outstanding–much of the time, it feels very voyeuristic (keeping in theme), which makes other certain shots (where we anticipate one thing while waiting for another) all the more chilling.

But more importantly, it’s the leading performance from the target of the invisible stalker: Elisabeth Moss in her career-best work. She plays Cecilia, who, in a very tense and disturbing prologue, barely escapes from her abusive relationship with the wealthy Adrian and tries to be free of him forever. A couple of weeks pass when Cecilia gets the news that Adrian has killed himself and left her with $5 million. The end? Not quite. Even after seeing photos of Adrian’s blood-soaked corpse, she can’t believe he’s truly gone…in fact, she feels like he’s still with her…silently and INVISIBLY stalking her.

Moss handles all of her scenes of paranoia and terror brilliantly and flawlessly. But what I also love about this movie is how we see her from everyone else’s point of view, especially when we learn more about Adrian and Cecilia’s relationship and how Adrian was a sly manipulator to the point where he could psychologically damage people severely. It’s that kind of clever storytelling that I love to see, especially in modern mainstream horror.

And it is scary! The film overall has this feel of “oh man, he’s in here and they can’t see him” creep-factor that never got old, even when it got to its inevitable climax. And there’s one jump-scare that truly got me (you’ll know it when you see it).

Overall, “The Invisible Man” is a film about a young woman trying to regain her independence and put to rest a psychologically damaging relationship, making it an effective stalker-thriller especially for today’s day and age. There’s so much to recommend in “The Invisible Man”–it’s just really damn good.

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