The Invisible Man (2020) Review

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.

Overall 1/10

The Invisible Man Returns Review

It’s time to look at another classic film from the old days. The Invisible Man was a decently fun film the first time around, but could it strike once more? An unfortunate hamster scene holds this one back along with the unlikable main character. It’s not a bad film and the writing is pretty solid as expected, but it just can’t live up to the legacy that the first film left. It was a sequel that was simply doomed from the start.

Radcliffe is being sentenced to death for the alleged murder of his brother. He claims not to have done it and Doctor Frank believes him. Frank decides to use the Invisible Man serum to save Radcliffe, but it has some serious side effects. It causes a person to become crazy so Frank won’t really be able to count on Radcliffe after this. Is Radcliffe truly innocent or has Frank just created a super villain?

One thing that you’ll likely find irksome is how everyone has an overreaction at seeing Radcliffe. I don’t think that seeing an invisible person should make you panic or faint. Especially if you know about it beforehand so it’s not as if this should come as a shock. Helen’s the main heroine here and she is easily the most guilty of this. She really gives Radcliffe a hard time with all of the extra drama. She was definitely not a likable character and helped spur on Radcliffe’s descent into madness.

Of course, we can only truly blame the madness on Radcliffe. He fell down the rabbit hole almost instantly as he spent 90% of his screen time laughing like a maniac. He definitely didn’t take to the serum very well, but luckily the craziness also made him very easy to deceive and subdue. Radcliffe actually gets a happy ending this time though so the invisible adventures were worth it. Honestly, I’d love the power of invisibility. I’d make a fortune in magic shows and could pull a lot of pranks on people.

Frank was the scientist, but he wasn’t very good. He decided to experiment on animals which is always a huge no no. Destroying a rat to save a person is not a good idea. Trading a life for a life is as corrupt as it gets and I just had to shake my head at that. I suppose he means well, but his character was dead to me. Detective Sampson tries his best to follow the law even if he is after the wrong man. It’s hard to blame him though since Radcliffe keeps disappearing and acting suspicious. At the very least, the cops should be glad to have a determined officer on the force.

One part of the film that was pretty fun was when the heroes decided to hide out in the middle of nowhere. This old man gave them shelter, but his dog knew what was up so one of the cops came along. What followed was a shouting match for whole minutes as both characters kept bumping into each other as the guy tried to stop the cop. The yells would always get progressively louder as they neared the top of the stairs. It was definitely fun even if it may not have been very plot important in the long run.

As expected, the writing is very on point which helps make the film flow. It never really drags on and the film isn’t all that long anyway. The effects for the Invisible Man are fun as he always has to shed at least 50 layers to escape. The costume certainly stands out and if I were him I’d probably just stay invisible for the long haul. It’d be a little tough in the Winter of course, but you could always hide in a house for naps and nobody would even notice. Being invisible is definitely a very dangerous power which the first film showed quite a bit. This one was more of a mystery/drama so there weren’t too many fights, but Radcliffe did make sure to get in on the action to find out the truth.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the film since the cast is rather limited and the plot is direct. You just see Radcliffe slowly descending into madness as the supporting characters wonder what they need to do. It would have been fun to have seen the mystery angle pushed to the forefront a little more instead of the constant laughing plot, but I suppose it got a good amount of screen time in the end. It just would have helped with the danger part of the film since most of it doesn’t feel like there’s any stakes.

Overall, The Invisible Man Returns is a peaceful film. It’s a nice little adventure with a good ending. A film like this would typically get a 6 or a 7, but we have to factor in the unfortunate Hamster scene. That moment was definitely sad and ensures that I can’t give the film a positive score. If you can get past that, then you should check the film out. If not, then I’d recommend just checking the first film out instead. Honestly, that may be your best move regardless right? The Invisible Man is definitely still a cooler part of Universal than Dracula, Werewolf, or the Mummy so I’m looking forward to the sequel. The Invisible Woman could be a nice film as well if they handle it right. Lets just stick away from the animal experiments.

Overall 5/10

The Invisible Man Review

The 30s aren’t particularly known for their immense selection of incredible films, but they still did churn out some pretty big titles. The Invisible Man is certainly one of them and almost everyone has heard of this figure. He was a character who could scare just about anyone back in the day. Considering that it is nearly a century old at this point, The Invisible Man presents us with a pretty interesting film that is fun to watch. I gotta say that this is definitely my kind of Horror Film! (It can give some of the Godzilla films a run for their money.)

The story revolves around a scientist whose experiment goes wrong and he turns invisible. No..that’s a little misleading. His experiment didn’t turn out as he had pictured, but he was interested in basically turning invisible so it was essentially a success. The big twist is that the chemicals also warp the user’s mind so he starts to get more and more sinister until the Invisible Man basically becomes a mass murderer with visions of world domination. The local authorities have to stop him..but how can you stop someone who is invisible? (And has super strength/speed as well…) The ultimate battle of good vs evil is about to begin!

The film is only about 70 minutes so things have to move at a fairly brisk pace. The film never moves too fast, but it goes quickly enough so that many things can happen. The film starts out pretty suspenseful and then it turns into more of an action by the end. There are some scenes that will definitely stretch your limit for disbelief, but this film is pretty old so it could be a generation gap. These moments will definitely be addressed in a moment.

The Invisible Man is the main villain of the title and it’s hard to tell if he was always evil or if the side effects of the potion really threw him over the deep end. Either way, it’s not a positive for the Invisible Man if you think of him as a hero. Luckily, I just think of him as a villain and he’s not bad in that respect. You can’t really root for him since his goals just seem to come out of nowhere, but what villain doesn’t want to become rich and rule the world? We can only see the Invisible Man when he has clothes on, but the serum definitely seemed to make him a lot stronger. He mentioned how it has opened his mind so it may go back to the theory that we only use about 20% of our mind and using more of it would give us super abilities. At least it’s sort of scientific depending on how you look at it. He can choke a man with ease and survive frigid temperatures while naked. He’s also a fairly quick runner and he can be in 10 places at once. (Not literally of course) He makes for a very powerful villain and one that realistically cannot be defeated…which makes the ending a little dicey.

The Chief Detective was definitely my favorite character in the film. He came up with a lot of plans to stop the Invisible Man and nothing fazed him. This was the kind of guy that you just didn’t want to mess with and I actually liked some of his strategies. The net may have been a little primitive, but he didn’t have the tech that we currently possess. He made do with what he had and it would be tough to do a whole lot more. I won’t be forgetting the detective!

Arthur Kemp doesn’t look very good at all since he’s basically a hostage for a good portion of the film. He is too scared of the Invisible Man to launch any counter offensives and the most resistance that he could commit was to call the Police. He made the right call, but he should have either stayed locked up in the room or ran outside to meet the police. The Invisible Man does have some basic super strength and speed, but I don’t think it’s by a large gap. Arthur could still run for a while and he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Even once Arthur is in the car. He just starts begging for mercy right from the get go instead of trying to fight the Invisible Man. If you’re going to die, you may as well fight back right? Just go for the gold at that point.

Most of the fighters don’t do very well against the Invisible Man and that can be a little embarrassing for them. They outnumbered him at least 50-1 at one point and he just scared them into submission. Their best chance was during the first showdown where they were face to face with him, but the crowds ran away when the Invisible Man took off his bandages around his head. They should have pounced right then and there, but the shock defeated them. After that, I don’t think that they really could have defeated him.

Being invisible is just too great of a power. There are millions of places to hide and you could also just reduce the town’s population one by one. It’s impossible to protect everyone and the Invisible Man is already fairly smart. He may have gotten careless at the end, but even then he should have been able to escape. Instead, he decides to play the final Mario 64 level with the Policemen taking the role of Bowser. This proved to be a fatal mistake and you have to wonder what he was thinking.

It’s also a little hard to sympathize with the Invisible Man at the beginning of the film. I did for a few minutes when everyone was scared of him for no good reason. Sure, he was bundled up, but it was freezing out there. The sympathy was lost when he began to yell at the shop owners the whole time. He could have easily finished his experiments if he had been more polite and less direct about everything. Because of that, the Invisible Man lost his chance.

We had a few other characters like the main heroine and her father, but they don’t really contribute to the plot. They are there to provide us with a little context and some backstory for the Invisible Man, but that’s about it. I do have to say that the first Policeman’s portrayal was pretty great though. At first, he doesn’t really care much about the Invisible Man’s situation. (Before they knew he was invisible) However, you can see him growing more and more confident as he walks into the room and the Invisible Man continues to hurl threats. The Policeman doesn’t back down until the Invisible Man starts to become invisible with his iconic laugh. I’ll admit that his appearance isn’t very flattering at that point, but the beginning is really what counts.

There isn’t really a soundtrack to be found here since the film is so old. I will admit that the film’s age does show when it comes to the audio. It can be very hard to hear what some of the characters are saying because their voices are just too screechy. This is especially the case for one of the owners, but it’s more intentional on her part. She’s a pretty exaggerated character, but a pretty likable one nonetheless. I felt bad for her and her husband since they were just trying to run a respectable shop. The audio was a little dicey, but it’s pretty unavoidable and it’s not the kind of thing that will really take points away.

Overall, The Invisible Man is a pretty fun film. The writing is pretty strong as you would expect and the characters are pretty interesting. I think that the Police really should have been out of their league here, but I’ll accept the plot hax since the hero has to win somehow. The towns people were way too afraid of the Invisible Man though and they shouldn’t have been. He’s still just one man and they can definitely take him if they all just charge. It was hard to take them seriously during those moments, but they pulled it together by the end. The town was pretty cool and it’s the kind of place that you definitely wouldn’t have minded living in back during the 30’s. I definitely recommend this film to horror films and it may not be a thrill a minute, but it’s a very good film. It will keep you interested from start to finish. You’ll never forget The Invisible Man’s maniacal laugh afterwards!

Overall 7/10