THE INVISIBLE MAN review by Ronnie Malik – Elisabeth Moss is terrorized by an unseen threat

THE INVISIBLE MAN review by Ronnie Malik – Elisabeth Moss is terrorized by an unseen threat

Rating: B+

Imagine the creepy feeling of being watched; knowing something sinister is coming for you; everyone around you thinks you’ve gone mad; and realizing that the only way to survive is to confront the terror head on all alone. If you can’t imagine this harrowing scenario, then just watch THE INVISIBLE MAN, a film putting a modern spin on the H.G Wells classic novel from 1897. Director Leigh Whannell and his team bring mystery and murder with a creative take on the vintage tale of horror that was way ahead of its time.

The opening scene takes off at a dizzying pace as we watch Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) quietly slide out of bed so as not awake her sleeping boyfriend. It is immediately clear that Cecilia is making an escape from Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). A heart pounding scene of Cecilia grabbing money, shoes, clothes, and her phone as she slithers silently about the dark contemporary San Francisco mansion kicks off the film. The escapee’s desperation and anxiety make it obvious that if her abuser wakes up, she is done for. Just as she is almost free and clear, Cecilia sets off a car alarm. Making a mad dash to the road, where her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) waits for her in a getaway car, Cecilia is whisked away to safety.

Emily gets her sister to the safe comforting arms of their dear friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his teen daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). James, a police officer, shares a cozy quaint home with is adorable daughter, a place that Adrian was never aware of so Cecilia believes that she is free of her abuser. But the trauma of her relationship to Adrian makes her afraid to even step out of the house to get the mail. Cecilia’s jitters are finally quieted when her sister Emily informs her that Adrian committed suicide, and soon after Cecilia finds out that she is heir to Adrian’s fortune. The narcissistic tech wizard left millions to her which she gladly accepts so that she can embark on a new life free of fear.

Things don’t remain calm for Cecilia for very long. As she goes about her business, Cecilia’s intuition tells her that something is not right. A feeling of foreboding takes over as strange things she can’t explain start happening. Cecilia is becoming confused and disoriented as her things start moving and disappearing and those around accuse her of strange behavior. Through her confusion, Cecilia manages to come up with a what she believes is a logical explanation for the odd occurrences but her reasoning only makes her sound insane and receiving no support from those she trusts most leads the victim of abuse into a spiral of paranoia.

Churning slowly, THE INVISIBLE MAN draws its audience into a chaotic world of a woman fighting a terror she can’t see. The tension mounts and then relaxes into a false sense of security before delivering the next jolt of lightning as the mystery starts to unveil. The moviegoer is lulled into quiet moments and then, without warning, gets caught off guard with shocking twists that are delivered to keep a film-watcher gripped with intrigue.

At the heart of the film is Elizabeth Moss, who proves once again that she possesses great acting chops. Playing a woman overtaken with fear and falling into an abyss of madness, Moss is both likable and convincing as a lady that ultimately will rely on her own wits to survive. The lead actress allows those watching to get intimately close to her character’s experience of panic and distress. The supporting cast, made up of Aldis Hodge as the strong compassionate friend, Storm Reid as the sweet and lively innocent teenager, and Harriet Dryer as the grounded and sensible sister, all offer up believable performances of bystanders watching someone close to them unravel.

Adding to the darkness and grittiness of this film are the set design and music. Adrian’s mansion that sits on top of a hill is a fenced in grey compound with walls made of glass – like an open prison where there is no escape from prying eyes. The powerful intimidating musical score by Benjamin Wallfisch adds to the feeling of dread knowing that something evil and dangerous is just around the corner. There are suspenseful choreographed sequences that create tense nail-biting moments that thrill seekers are going to love.

THE INVISIBLE MAN is a dark and eerie sci-fi horror production that is sure to delight those moviegoers that thrive on suspense and action. Nicely paced, the movie does a great job of building those unsuspecting moments that are a guarantee for jumping-out-of-your-seat moments. With the addition of new twists to this classic tale, this new version of THE INVISIBLE MAN is current and fresh and will give just the right dose of excitement for the sophisticated horror movie fan. After watching this movie, one might find themselves wondering if the empty spaces around them are really empty or filled with an unwelcome visitor that will be rather tricky to evict.

THE INVISIBLE MAN opens February 28, 2020

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