Nobel Prize nominee H.G. Wells was a writer who was ahead of his time. Considered one of the "Fathers of Science Fiction" he wrote a novel published in 1897 called The Invisible Man. Almost forty years later, Universal Pictures released a feature film version of the novel starring Claude Raines as Dr. Jack Griffin/ The Invisible Man. In both the novel and the film, Griffin experimented with chemicals that made oneself invisible but had the unfortunate side effect of also making the subject crazy (the novel differs from the film in that Griffin was already crazy in the novel before becoming invisible), carrying out a number of murders.
In what was supposed to be the second installment of Universal's Dark Universe - updated movies based on classic science fiction/horror films of the past - The Invisible Man got a modern revamping and heads to theaters this weekend. If you felt 2017's The Mummy was a disappointment, then you should definitely feel better about The Invisible Man. Starring Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), this second film may actually revive the possibly defunct "Dark Universe". To be honest, Universal should have released this one first as it would have been a more successful introduction to the world they were hoping to create.
Moss plays Cecilia Kass who is married to Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen; The Haunting of Hill House). Besides being brilliant, rich, and a trailblazer in the field of Optics, Adrian is an abusive and controlling man who monitors everything Cecilia does. Seeing no way out, Cecilia devises a plan to drug Adrian and leave in the middle of the night. With a few small hiccups, the plan seems to work. Two weeks later Cecilia finds out Adrian has killed himself, which she finds suspicious, but glad to finally be rid of him...or so she thinks.
As Cecilia stays with her friend James (Aldis Hodge; Hidden Figures) and his daughter, Sydney (Storm Reid; Euphoria) she suddenly feels as if she is being watched and as more and more strange things keep happening she is sure of it. She realizes that Adrian has faked his death and is somehow stalking her including sabotaging her job interview and framing her for murder, which lands her in an institution for the criminally insane. Cecilia's breaking point comes when she finds out she is pregnant with Adrian's child despite taking birth control pills. Knowing Adrian would never let Cecilia and their child go, she devises a plan to rid herself of her "supposedly" deceased husband once and for all.
Moss is excellent as an abused wife who is desperate to get away from her husband. She is convincing as we watch her dissolve into a seemingly unstable woman ranting about her dead husband setting her up. Hodge holds his own as he watches his friend go crazy. Reid may be young but she has been a standout in both A Wrinkle in Time and Euphoria and she once again showcases her talent here. She will definitely be one to watch in the next few years.
Writer/director Leigh Whannell (Saw) does a wonderful job bringing this classic tale into modern times with the use of updated technology. He expertly avails himself of sharp visuals and haunting music to build the suspense leading up to several exciting moments in the film. He pulls the best out of his actors, especially Moss, making for a heart-pounding, anxiety-filled two-hour ride. To be honest, my only complaint was that I felt it dragged during some of those scenes making it seem longer than it was. Had Whannell shortened the movie by ten or fifteen minutes it would have been even better.
Almost 100 years after the original film debuted, Universal Pictures brings a worthy, updated remake to audiences this winter.