This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
It’s time to take a look at the Invisible Man. After the Mummy remake turned out to be fairly bad, it was time for this one to shake things up. Unfortunately I am here to tell you that the Mummy was significantly better which is not a good thing. This one ultimately takes an approach to the story that was likely doomed from the start and any promising aspects are overwhelmed by the negatives. I do think that a sequel would automatically be starting off in a much better place though and I’m ready for that.
The movie starts off with Cecilia escaping from her abusive boyfriend Adrian and drives off with her sister Emily. Cecilia lives with James and his daughter Sydney as she hides out from him. One day she finds out that Adrian destroyed himself but it feels rather odd that he would just give up like that. Sure enough, he appears to be back but invisible somehow and he intends to keep tormenting her and isolating her from her friends and family. Can Cecilia stop him or at this point is he a ghost that can’t truly be stopped?
Right off the bat what the film did wrong here is it went too far on showing just how psychotic Adrian was as the villain. We learn quite a bit about the abuse and how far it went into gritty territory and once you go there it’s pretty much a death sentence for a film. You want to go in there and get ready for some thrilling chase scenes and wonder how the heroine will come out on top. Instead now there was already so much damage done that it’s like you’ve lost the fight before it even began. Just a very unfortunate way to kick things off and so you’re not able to have a whole lot of fun during the film. Cecilia is naturally very traumatized for almost the whole film. There’s a lot of crying and a somber tone throughout the movie so at the end of the day what you’ve got is a very emotional horror title as opposed to a thrilling one.
Now, when you have a villain who is invisible you figure it’s going to be very hard to stop him. That’s part of the fear factor in dealing with such a villain and yet the movie starts to mess up there. There’s one point in the film where the Invisible Man murders someone right next to Cecilia and then tries to frame her for this. The big issue of course is that with the security footage you should immediately be able to see that the knife was lifted on its own and that she didn’t do it. This was a very fancy restaurant so they had to have cameras in there and the worst part is that you could have easily written around that. Have him wait until she picks up the knife to eat some food later on and then stab the victim with that.
There wasn’t any food ordered yet but that’s just a clean way of doing it. Most aspects of the Invisible Man work beyond that like his being super silent is fine. I can definitely see that working based on how the invisibility works. It’s not really a stretch. I’m a bit more iffy on his walking through the metal detectors at the entry of the prison but sure lets say the suit is fully plastic. One more iffy part is when he’s taking out a whole platoon of guards though. So for context his suit was damaged earlier so he was flickering in and out a whole lot, however during the fight it almost works perfectly so he vanishes for large amounts of time. It starts flickering again once he’s outside but even if he was invisible the whole fight, the guards could have handled that way better.
It’s obvious that Cecilia isn’t stabbing them because she’s on the ground many feet away. So once the guards start going down they should be firing in all directions to clip the villain or throwing a punch. They should be doing something at least right? Instead they just keep pointing their guns at Cecilia and telling her to stand down when that’s not helping matters at all. It is an interesting fight scene of course and I can even buy the Invisible Man beating them all, but just not in the way that it went down.
If I’m going to drill down further I think another big issue here is the film overexplained why this would all be feasible for Adrian to the point where people should have believed this more. Adrian is the world’s foremost expert on optic technology. If someone were to be invisible, well it would have to use optical technology right? That shouldn’t be a stretch to say that he found a way to do it and faked his death. So at least have someone look into it. Additionally his mansion seemed fully intact and as if nobody really went in to dig around. If they had then they might have seen something.
Now the film does have a pretty intense ending that has a lot of potential for a sequel. It was a drastic way for one character to go but I think it makes for a powerful ending and honestly there probably weren’t any alternatives at that point. There was no way to take things further within the realms of the law there. I hope this character puts on the brakes and doesn’t escalate further though as there was sort of an implied threat at the end. Right now I think this person would follow through on that threat but I hope it doesn’t come down to that. My only issue is that one character looks worse retroactively here.
Put it this way, there is only one way for the ending to work and it requires having certain equipment. The owner of this equipment should have known way before this scene that it was gone and that would eliminate the element of surprise right? I mean this character knows there is only one person who would steal this and so he would be very prepared for what might come later on? You also question the house alignment not to notice what was being prepped.
Well, there’s a lot to analyze here but pretty much all of that I can overlook except for the restaurant scene which was a bit much. Maybe also the kid (Sydney) getting punched since you can really tell the difference when you’re getting punched by the Invisible Man or Cecilia. Cmon now there is a massive difference there and the texture would also be very different considering how the Invisible Man would have hit her. Okay this actually makes another nitpick come to mind here.
So when he follows her into various places like the prison cell, hospital, etc. No matter how fast he is, how does nobody notice how the door stays open for an extra second? Unless you tell me that he perfect times it to dash after them before the door closes or slips under their arm while they hold it open, that should be really tough to manage each and every time. This one’s a full nitpick though since it can be done and since the Invisible Man is a martial arts master he has full control over his body and all.
The concept of the Invisible Man is pretty cool and there’s a lot of utility there in a horror, action, or even comedy context. There’s a lot you can do with this but they should have just made him a random psycho/mass murderer instead of going for the abusive angle here. If you’re going to go that route then just don’t go all the way and keep it to minimal physical/emotional violence like a few hits or something. That’s still incredibly serious without going all the way into grim dark territory.
I was glad that the dog didn’t die here so I’ll give the film some props there. Ultimately while Cecilia didn’t handle some situations as well as she could have, she did well in escaping during the intro and taking care of business by the end. I’d say she worked well as the lead. Her sister Emily also did a good job It was a bit annoying that she was so slow to starting the car in the intro which nearly cost Cecilia everything but beyond that she was a steadfast ally the whole time. Ultimately she had to go through a lot and it was reasonable that she had a point where she got upset because it’s hard to believe that what happened to her was a frame-up.
James was a good guy who helped give Cecilia a place to stay and heal on her terms. He was a supportive guy all the way through to the end and that’s why if Cecilia were to turn on him then that would lose her a lot of points. Yes he also had a point where he distanced himself but considering the context I don’t see how you could possibly blame him at all. I don’t see how Cecilia could either because she would fully understand. Same goes for Sydney who does her best to be supportive to a point. The final supporting character is Adrian’s brother Tom and naturally you’ll be suspicious of him the whole time. The instant that he says he’ll just let Cecilia have all the money without a fuss you figure there has to be something to this guy.
Overall, The Invisible Man’s main problem is that it’s just not a very enjoyable film for most of the run as it can be tough to watch for large chunks of it. It’s a very somber title with a whole lot of dark elements and while a horror film can be visually dark, it should also be very engaging and have its share of moments where it’s lighthearted or at least you’re having fun enjoying something. The film can be quite violent but I would say it’s definitely not on the same level as most slashers or big time horror films so the movie actually did show some restraint on that end. Now based on what the plot for the sequel can be, we’re either going to see one of the biggest jumps in quality for a sequel yet or it’s going to double down and things will get tricky from there. We’ll see how it plays out but as long as it includes some fun this time around then we should be good.
I was mildly interested this when it was hitting theaters (as in, if I got free/cheap tickets, I’d go), but that never happened. Now though with your review, I’m not interested even if it’s free on TV/streaming. At least the dog is OK.
The dog being okay was definitely the silver lining here because I was getting nervous every time he showed up in the film. Definitely a disappointing movie all the way through
A good update of the film for today’s audiences.
I wasn’t impressed this time but the sequel has potential