Remaking a film from the early days of cinema is no easy task. Filmmakers are given the difficult task of adapting a dated story for modern audiences. The source material often has settings, situations, and stereotypes that are not relatable or engaging with modern audiences. The 2020 remake of “The Invisible Man” proves that not only is this task manageable, but when done right, it can set a new standard of quality and given new life to a genre that has been counted out for a while.
Universal’s attempt to create a “Dark Universe” consisting of every classic monster from Dracula to Frankenstein fizzled out after the failures of “Dracula Untold (2014)” and “The Mummy (2017).” While Universal tries to figure out how to move forward with their franchise of classic films, director Leigh Whannel stepped in to make a standalone film that distances itself from the previous failures of the franchise. The result is a breathtaking film that is nothing like its predecessors.
The brilliance of the films comes directly from Whannel’s visionary talent and ambition. The script does not waste a single moment. Every scene is expertly crafted to work towards plot twist after plot twist, all leading towards an epic climax and finale. There are only a few scripts that I would call perfect, but “The Invisible Man” is one of them.
The reimagined story follows Cecelia (Elizabeth Moss) as she struggles with the trauma of an abusive relationship while being tormented by her abuser, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen,) after he faked his death using a suit that makes him invisible. It expertly depicts an externalized version of the internal struggle that most abuse victims face and allows the audience to share Cecelia’s fears as she struggles with people believing her story.
Beyond the story elements, Whannel also manages to top his own standard for action sequences. His debut film “Upgrade” showed that he had incredible talent with stunt work, but “The Invisible Man” is on an entirely new level. The action sequences expertly incorporate the invisible villain gimmick and manage to leave the audience thrilled, terrified, and bewildered by the film’s technical achievements.
The film may have a slow start, as most modern horror films do, but halfway through, the story shifts into high gear and does not slow down. The film could also use a little bit more action, but the action and the script that we do get is so good that it’s impossible to be mad. It might not be saying much, but this is definitely the best movie of 2020 so far.
Filmnetic Grade: A+
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