25th Jun2020

‘The Invisible Man’ Blu-ray Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman, Benedict Hardie, Renee Lim, Brian Meegan | Written and Directed by Leigh Whannell

I remember reactions were mixed when it was announced and all new Invisible Man would be making it’s way to the big screen via Universal and Blumhouse and with Leigh Whannell (Upgrade, Insidious Chapter 3) as director. I was feeling positive however. Blumhouse bought back Halloween to a modern audience and created a great new horror movie, while Whannell’s Upgrade was one of the surprises of 2018, with excellent action sequences and great camera-work. Which meant I was very much looking forward to The Invisible Man.

With a modern take that is quite far away from the original 1933 The Invisible Man we see Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia, a woman who shortly after she escapes her abusive boyfriend, discovers he has committed suicide. But a string of strange occurrences lead her to believe he is still alive and hunting her. She just has to make people believe her.

The first thing I noticed, literally within seconds of the film was how fantastic the cinematography is. There’s this unbelievable use of slow movement with the camera as it slowly lets the viewer see what is unfolding on screen. The first scene then becomes this super tense, edge-of-your-seat progression that sets the tone for the whole movie. Within those first few minutes, we understand Cecilia and her situation, we desperately want to see her escape and we’re holding our breath at whether she will or not. On top of the camera-work, there’s a sublime musical score that not only adds to the tension but at times becomes this classic and undoubtedly scary, horror score.

Those two aspects of the movie link together perfectly throughout the movie.

The camera is like an extra character at times, and in the first half of the movie there’s some great voyeuristic-style shots that almost put you in the place of the predator, and that’s almost as scary as seeing the victims view.

There’s a fantastic use of ‘empty space’, for want of a better term. The only time I remember it being used this well was in the recent Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. In that show you were looking for ghosts in backgrounds but here the camera is alot of the time just facing an empty room or an empty space. And even though we don’t always see anything, sometimes nothing at all happens, I was still holding my breath and realising my whole body had gone tense. You truly feel what Cecilia is going through.

When we do see something – a frying pan heating enough to go on fire or a bed sheet taken from a bed – then everything suddenly becomes ten times more frightening.

Elisabeth Moss is obviously fantastic. She’s been putting in amazing performances for a long time now and if you had seen her most recently in The Handmaid’s Tale, you would know that she was always going to be perfect in this, at times, very bleak role. The character gets beaten down again and again and there’s no-one better to portray this than Moss. The script is very good but without her performance, which is a large percentage of the movie, then The Invisible Man wouldn’t be quite so good.

If you had seen Upgrade, it should come as no surprise that Whannell is not scared to go all out when it comes to violence and gore. They’re a couple of truly shocking and bloody moments in The Invisible Man that have a huge impact. They hit at times that are perfectly placed, you wont necessarily see them coming but they also aren’t just there to shock. They hit hard and with meaning.

The Invisible Man is one of the best horror movies of the last ten years. It is unbelievably tense and already feels like a modern horror masterpiece. Leigh Whannell has cemented his place as one of the top sci-fi/horror directors currently working.

Blu-ra Bonus Features:

  • Uncut Feature Commentary with writer/ director Leigh Whannell
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Moss Manifested
  • Director’s Journey with Leigh Whannell
  • The Players
  • Timeless Terror

***** 5/5

The Invisible Man is out now on DVD and Bluray from Universal Pictures UK.

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