Whanell’s Invisible Man Was Not Just Empty Space

Invisible Man' stands out from the crowd

Leigh Whanell’s cast and crew did it!

I happen to be a monster movie fan. But not by any means a film/horror expert. The latest movie that wowed me in all the right places was The Invisible Man (2020).

Besides that recent 2018 Wolfman, I did not think that we would be getting an awesome monster flick any time soon. The Mummy for me was bland, but maybe I am just to hung up on Brendan Fraser and Arnold Vosloo.

Anyway, the film itself without me travelling heavily into plot, is loosely a remake and mostly a re-imagining. Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) seeks to escape her abusive controlling husband, Adrian (Oliver J-Cohen) an expert in the field of optics.

A twist on the original 1933 film by flipping the character perspective on itself.

The focus in 2020 is more on the fear, manipulation and less on the invisible scientist. Agoraphobia and toxic masculinity a big focus and likely influenced by recent movements. By the same respect they put a modern twist on the invisible potion idea too. Which I have seen somewhere before and is an extension of existing optical technology. This focus on female concerns in a controlling relationship is brilliant.

Personally, I always liked the originals take on the change of personality due to the effects of the invisibility potion. A distinct descent into madness, with added comedy. Suitably light-hearted and with a monologue brought to life by Rains amazingly smooth vocal tone.

The original film being a near perfect translation of the text, perfected by Claude Rains performance, weirdly also starts in the middle of the books story. But also dripping in suspense and intrigue. Bar the screaming – Una O’Connor. Rains Famous now for Lawrence of Arabia and Robin Hood, he was virtually unknown at the time.

So it suprised me that Moss really shines through in this film. It has great development. The way the fear and suspense grab you through the supporting characters experiences only heightens the trauma and paranoia of the protagonist, keeping a lot of the films focus essentially on her. One of my favourite parts is actually an interaction with her childhood friend’s daughter.

Moss really goes through what anyone could describe as literally psychological hell. You can mend broken relationships, but some modern stigmas are life ending and often madness inducing. Controlling relationships tend to have such an effect on victims that even when they think they are in control they are in fact not- which is perfected here.

Being a good horror though it really takes you for a rollercoaster ride along with her. They also lull you into a relaxing sense of calm and understanding before they rip the floor out from underneath you. Something which the soundtrack and score really help to nail home. Many have found it hard to not admire the directors daring filmmaking.

I watch horror frequently. Play it frequently. Yet, this film was the one that made me actually jump and kept me on the edge of my seat, particularly towards the latter acts.

After all these years of films rehashing ideas. This is fresh, yet familiar.  Familiar enough to hit home to an audience in 2020 and gripping enough to give fans of the golden age a fresh take.

So no real plot spoilers. No juicy details. Just an honest thought. A horror fan that enjoyed a film and wants to tell the rest of the world. Go and watch the new Invisible Man.

Then go watch the original and see the amazing Claude Rains have a good ol time. If that will not grab you then maybe the legendary work of John P. Fulton’s optical painting and travel mats will. The sheer magic of the cinematography and direction will leave you more startled than the Thief of Bagdad.


Here we go gathering nuts and may, on a cold and frosty morning

Reference List

Lee, B., 2020. The Invisible Man Review – Elisabeth Moss Brings Murky Thriller To Life. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/25/the-invisible-man-review-elisabeth-moss [Accessed 10 April 2020].

The Invisible Man. 1933. [film] Directed by J. Whale. Universal Studios.

Griffiths, D., 2020. Invisible Man Promotional Poster. [image] Available at: https://www.thephuketnews.com/invisible-man-stands-out-from-the-crowd-75271.php [Accessed 10 April 2020].

Nugent, J., 2020. The Invisible Man. [online] Empire. Available at: <https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/the-invisible-man/&gt; [Accessed 13 April 2020].

Newman, K., 2000. The Invisible Man. [online] Empire. Available at: <https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/invisible-man-review/&gt; [Accessed 13 April 2020].

Hall, M., 1933. Claude Rains Makes His Film Debut In A Version Of H.G. Wells’s Novel, “The Invisible Man.”. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/1933/11/18/archives/claude-rains-makes-his-film-debut-in-a-version-of-hg-wellss-novel.html&gt; [Accessed 13 April 2020].

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