“The Invisible Man” (Rated C)
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi
Nevermind that like “Little Women”, “A Star is Born”, “Batman” and “Godzilla”, every decade or two someone decides it’s time for another version of “The Invisible Man”.
Nevermind if you generally regard the premise of this type of fantasy as ludicrous.
Nevermind that you think you’ve already seen all 315 versions of “The Invisible Man” in movies and on television – even that disastrous “Hollow Man” from 2000.
Regardless of it all, the eponymous novel from the father of science fiction, H.G. Wells, is a beloved classic. And while 315 may be as much of a stretch of the truth as the ability to make a human being invisible (currently), the temptation for humans to do new screen versions of this work seemingly grows with every single evolution of digital technology.
And this new and apparently sixth theatrical version – including the aforementioned “Hollow Man”, but not including the at least seven television adaptations from all over the globe – will more than likely be far from the last. Thankfully, it will go down as one of the better, more memorable efforts.
Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (who co-wrote the original “Saw” and wrote the “Insidious” trilogy), this reboot of “The Invisible Man” is a fresh, modern film genre-crossing update on the general themes Wells first brought to light 123 years ago.
After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back.
Tense and intense from the very beginning, every emotion is made even more nerve-rattling and edge-of-your-seat grab-worthy by Elisabeth Moss’ exhilaratingly frenetic performance.
Not only do we feel badly for Moss (TV’s “Mad Men” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”) while her character is tormented endlessly by her sadistic ex-boyfriend, but also because not one solitary soul believes anything she says. It’s hard not to become one of “those people”, shouting obscenities at the screen every few minutes.
All of that, along with a fantastic supporting cast — including Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Michael Dorman, and stellar visual effects — results in a truly enjoyable film that never eases up on the throttle.
Nevermind that I would have preferred a more open-ended…umm…ending. One that might have left some things unanswered and would have allowed the mind and imagination to wonder. But perhaps that stuff is already too cliché in this genre.
In any event, in a cinematic year that’s got off to a remarkably slow start, “The Invisible Man” effectively does all the things it’s supposed to do – work!
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email email@example.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.