Suspense flick with deeper themes almost loses its way, then recovers
There’s a lot to like about the new remake of “The Invisible Man,” and there’s a lot that’s almost laugh-out-loud silly.
The funny part? It all comes together for me and my love of both horror and bad Lifetime thrillers. If you like both of these, this is a must-see. Of course, it’s elevated by a lead performance from Elisabeth Moss that certainly rises above movie-of-the-week level.
We meet Cecilia Kass (Moss) as she is making a daring late-night escape from an abusive relationship. Her partner, Adrian Griffin, is a controlling, gaslighting, general piece of shit, and with some help from her sister (Harriet Dyer), Cecilia makes a run for it.
Terrified that Adrian will track her down, Cecilia stays with a police officer friend (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid). Then comes the first twist: Adrian is found dead of an apparent suicide. And he’s left Cecilia a sizable chunk of money.Get very visible news and entertainment delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter
Still, Cecilia is haunted by the trauma of Adrian’s control. And then a strange string of occurrences convinces her that (second twist) Adrian might not really be dead!
Let’s start with some genuine praise for Moss’ performance. A lesser actor could have taken this full-blown Lifetime, but there’s a lot of nuance to her character as a survivor of multiple forms of abuse.
At times, director Leigh Whannell does frame this as a serious drama about a serious subject with some creeping tension. And then things really start to heat up as the movie twists itself into something different, but also quite entertaining in its own trashy TV way.
Some of these twists strain whatever seriousness came before, but Whannell at least really goes for something here, even if that something changes gears a few times.
Yes, there are moments where “The Invisible Man” goes full ridiculous. And while the effects are solid, there are moments when the budget starts to show. And the scares are there, but a bit too reliant on jump-scares after doing a decent job with a slow burn.
But it 100 percent sticks the landing with an ending that tipped the balance back for me. This one is a pure crowd-pleaser.