By Thomas Petch
Universal seems to have learned their lesson after the catastrophic failure of the The Mummy, that their proposed Dark Universe just shouldn’t exist. At least not in the way they were forcing it to exist. Now shedding the ‘Cinematic Universe’ branding that plagued Dracula Untold and The Mummy; Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man has taken these universal monsters back to their horror roots.
Based loosely on the original H. G. Wells novel, The Invisible Man tells the story of a victim of abuse being stalked by her ex who has discovered a way to become invisible. The film updates the premise so that the horror switches from classic body horror to a more modern psychological centred horror, therefore making the invisibility much more terrifying.
Director Leigh Whannell makes sure that the audience always feels as if Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), the titular man, is always there in the room even if he might not be and the performance of Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass makes you really empathise with this person as her life is dismantled around her.
Whilst the mechanics of the invisibility still seems little implausible (a simple throwaway line of being an ‘optics expert’ being the best explanation) it doesn’t really matter in order to keep the suspense going. Plus, the effect is good enough that you buy into what’s happening on screen.
Watching this vindictively cruel man ruin his ex’s life is incredibly effective in making you hate the guy. Yet by the end you’re not even sure if he was the cause of it all to begin with.
Whether Universal tries to make another shared universe out of this film or not is yet to be seen, but out of all their most recent adaptations over the past two decades this has been the first one that has been genuinely scary and entertaining to watch. Hopefully they stick to the low budget, stand-alone horror films like they should be.
Featured image credit: Mark Rogers/Universal Studios