By Drake Vittitow
When it comes to horror, there are a select few classic creatures who we can thank for the genre’s inception.
Monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman have been shown on the silver screen since the early 20thh century.
But of course, as with all potential blockbuster material, there have been many reboots.
The most recent entries include:
- “The Mummy”
- “I, Frankenstein”
- “The Wolfman”
- “Dracula: Untold”
All of these movies were abominations of their source material. After watching “The Mummy” in 2017, I was ready to throw in the towel. I thought the chances of getting a solid classic monster movie were behind us.
Enter “The Invisible Man,” the savior for Universal Studios monsters.
“The Invisible Man” was introduced in 1933 and is based off of the H.G. Wells novel of the same name.
The 2020 version succeeds in delivering an updated story built for today’s audience, while at the same time, delivering a meaningful message, something the previous reboots have failed to do.
The story follows Cecilia, played by Elizabeth Moss, who has recently escaped from an abusive relationship. After finding out that her ex has taken his own life and left her his fortune, she has a sneaking suspicion that he has faked his death. Things seem fine for a while, until a mysterious invisible force starts to stalk her.
First things first, Elizabeth Moss, actress in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is phenomenal in this film. Ever since “Mad Men,” she has become a powerful figure in film.
Part of what makes her so successful in this film is the way the audience relates to the character. Whether or not you have ever been in an abusive relationship, I guarantee there has been an instance in your life where you felt like you were being controlled by someone or someone made you feel like you were not worth anything, and this is why I cared so much about Cecilia in this movie.
On top of that, when she tries to explain to others that she is being attacked by this invisible monster, nobody believes her because nobody can relate to what she is going through. They just think she is going through a psychotic episode because of the trauma her ex caused her. This common identity she shares with the audience emotionally attaches you to her, which causes you to root for her in this pseudo-underdog film.
Basing a movie on this premise is so smart because it creates so much tension toward something that is not even on the screen.
This could not happen without great suggestive shots from the camera. For example, the camera would pan to an empty chair or hallway and the audience would see nothing, but it would pan long enough to where you started second guessing whether someone was actually there or not.
This technique is what makes this film stand out from the other horror movies. If an experienced filmmaker can make the audience second-guess themselves and combine mystery with these horror elements, then that is the perfect way to create scares.
It is not all about loud noises and jump scares.
None of this could have happened without the masterful directing of Leigh Whannell. With horror classics like “Saw” and “Insidious” under his belt, I have no doubt that the future of horror is safe while he is in the director’s chair.
This movie is just great. It does what every horror movie should strive for. Draw the audience in with an interesting character, create authentic tension and scares and deliver a believable story that resonates with viewers in the end.
“The Invisible Man” does this in spades.
Hopefully, horror movies like this do not vanish into thin air, because movies like “The Invisible Man” should continue to be made and be the benchmark for all horror reboots.