“The Invisible Man” is yet another remake of the H.G. Wells novel and yet this version ranks right up there with the 1933 original with Claude Rains. It’s stylish, suspenseful, atmospheric, and it delivers a timely message about victimization in relationships.
This remake stars Elisabeth Moss from “Mad Men” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” as Cecilia Kass, a frightened young woman who is desperately trying to escape her controlling and abusive scientist boyfriend (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
Some time later while living with her friend (Aldis Hodge), Cecilia comes to learn that her boyfriend is dead, having committed suicide, and left her a massive nest egg. Naturally, she’s confused as to why he would leave it to her, considering all the damage he did to her.
While still living with her friend, Cecilia starts noticing mysterious occurrences such as the stove being turned up and bursting into flames, and she begins to suspect that her boyfriend is still trying to haunt her. As typical with a scenario like this, the more she tries to rationalize her theory, the crazier she is to everyone around her.
The movie is largely free from any kind of elaborate special effects sequences. Instead it offers a much more cerebral approach and a slower pace that builds the tension, so when anything scary does take place, it makes it all more menacing. Cecilia using a bucket of paint to try and deduce that her boyfriend is still alive is the best example.
“The Invisible Man,” directed and written by Leigh Whannell, is for me an antidote to many of the horror films I’ve seen recently. There’s much more palpable, effective suspense in this screenplay than anything I’ve seen recently.
Elisabeth Moss also gives a smart, committed performance as a battered woman who chooses to fight back, and her inventive strategies on catching her boyfriend are so efficient and hold water that it makes the story seem plausible instead of ludicrous.
Just as “Joker” was all about discussing mental illness in the form of a comic book movie, “The Invisible Man” delves into the subject of abuse, manipulation and female empowerment in the form of a well-crafted horror thriller.
We may not be able to see the Invisible Man, but you should see this movie.
Rated R for some strong bloody violence, and language.
Justin Hall is a syndicated movie critic in South Georgia.