The Invisible Man (2020)
|The Invisible Man|
International theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Leigh Whannell|
|Written by||Leigh Whannell|
|Based on||Characters and concepts created by H. G. Wells for The Invisible Man|
|Music by||Benjamin Wallfisch|
|Edited by||Andy Canny|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$128.9 million|
The Invisible Man is a 2020 science fiction horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell. It follows a woman who believes she is being stalked by her abusive and wealthy boyfriend even after his apparent suicide. She ultimately deduces that he has acquired the ability to become invisible. The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. It is an international co-production of the United States and Australia.
The development of a new film based on H. G. Wells‘s 1897 book began as early as 2006. The project was revived as part of Universal’s shared cinematic universe in 2016, intended to consist of their classic monsters, with Johnny Depp attached to star in the title role. After The Mummy was released in 2017 to critical and financial failure, development was halted on all projects. In early 2019, the studio changed their plans from a serialized universe to films based on individualized story-telling and the project reentered development. Principal photography lasted from July to September 2019 in Sydney, Australia.
The Invisible Man was released in the United States on February 28, 2020, by Universal Pictures. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Moss’ performance, its inventive modernization of the novel’s plot, and the combination of scares with “a smart narrative about how people can be manipulated and abused in harmful relationships”. The film grossed $128 million worldwide against a $7 million budget and is currently the fifth highest-grossing film of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing theaters across the world, Universal announced the film would be made available for digital rental just four weeks after it was released theatrically.
Plot *** SPOILER ALERT ***
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with wealthy optics engineer and businessman Adrian Griffin, Cecilia Kass one night drugs him with Diazepam and escapes their home into the nearby woods to wait for her sister, Emily. After she arrives, Adrian nearly catches Cecilia, but the pair are able to escape.
Cecilia hides out with childhood friend, Detective James Lanier, and his teenage daughter Sydney. Two weeks later, Adrian seemingly commits suicide and leaves Cecilia $5 million in his will handled and organized by his lawyer brother, Tom. As Cecilia tries to move forward, she is plagued by several unexplained experiences. She suspects another presence in the house one night when she finds the front door open and witnesses the lights flickering on and off. She calls for James when she sees footprints in her room, but he assures her she is just still traumatized. During a job interview, she faints after finding her portfolio’s contents removed and is taken to the hospital. Later, the doctor calls and says they found high levels of Diazepam in her system. Shortly after returning home, Cecilia finds the same bottle she drugged Adrian with, which she dropped during her escape, in her bathroom.
She arranges a meeting with Tom and James, insisting that Adrian faked his death and used his optics expertise to become invisible in order to torment her, but gets rebuffed. Cecilia turns to her sister, but Emily refuses to acknowledge her after receiving an email from Cecilia’s account stating she never wants to see her again. Later, she is comforted by Sydney, but Sydney is hit by an unseen force, leading her and James to assume Cecilia did it. While a furious James rushes his daughter out of the house, Cecilia tries a number of tactics to catch the figure. After finding Adrian’s old phone in the attic and covering the figure with paint, she ends up in a violent struggle before escaping to Adrian’s home to investigate. In his lab, she finds a suit that confirms her suspicions. After hiding it in a closet, the invisible figure attacks again, so Cecilia flees and contacts Emily. The pair meet in a restaurant, though as Cecilia begins to tell her what she found, the invisible figure slits Emily’s throat with a knife and places it in Cecilia’s hand, framing her for the crime.
Remanded to a mental hospital while she awaits trial, the staff informs Cecilia that she is pregnant. Tom visits her and offers to get her charges dropped if she agrees to “return to him” and raise the child, implying that he helped his brother stage his suicide while revealing Adrian tampered with her birth control to ensure she became pregnant. Cecilia refuses to take the deal and steals a pen from his briefcase. That night, she uses the pen to pretend to commit suicide to draw the invisible figure out. When the figure tries to stop her, she stabs him repeatedly, causing the suit to malfunction. The security team arrives, but the invisible figure violently incapacitates them before fleeing the hospital, with Cecilia in pursuit. Promising not to harm her because of her pregnancy, the figure instead threatens to attack those she loves.
Cecilia races to James’ house, where she finds the invisible figure attacking him and Sydney. She manages to shoot the figure after spraying him with a fire extinguisher, but when she unmasks him, she finds Tom in the suit. Police find a captive Adrian alive at his house, tied up in his basement and claiming Tom held him prisoner. Cecilia quickly disputes this, insisting the brothers must have shared the suit, with Adrian sending Tom to the house knowing what would happen.
In an attempt to get Adrian to confess, she meets him at his house to discuss her pregnancy while James listens in on a wire. She agrees to mend their relationship, but only if he confesses to being the invisible figure. Adrian insists Tom did kidnap him, claiming that the experience changed his outlook on life and how he treated her in their relationship. When she begins to cry, Adrian alludes to former abuse using similar phrasing to that of the invisible figure. Smiling, Cecilia departs to use the restroom. Moments later, the room’s security camera captures Adrian seemingly committing suicide. Cecilia returns and, apparently distraught, calls the police. Out of the camera’s sight however, she silently taunts Adrian; having retrieved the spare suit she hid earlier to kill him.
When James arrives and asks what happened, she confirms what the camera saw. He spots the suit in her bag, but accepts her story and allows her to leave. Relieved that she’s finally free from Adrian, Cecilia leaves the house with the suit.
- Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia “Cee” Kass
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Adrian Griffin
- Aldis Hodge as James Lanier, a San Francisco police detective, Sydney’s father and Cee’s childhood friend
- Storm Reid as Sydney Lanier, James’ teenage daughter
- Harriet Dyer as Emily Kass, Cee’s sister
- Michael Dorman as Tom Griffin, Adrian’s brother and lawyer
- Benedict Hardie as Marc
- Amali Golden as Annie
- Sam Smith as Detective Reckley
- Nash Edgerton as a Security Guard.
I can’t compare this one to older versions,. because I haven’t seen any. It was okay and well portrayed, but just okay. I can recommend it as good home movie night flick. It was fun and spooky enough, and even had a few spots that made my wife jump and scream. Clearly, ‘The Invisible Woman’ will be next, the end sets it up perfectly. Worth a watch.
3 stars -MR