Do you remember the disastrous 2017 version of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, was only the beginning of a new cinematic universe? Do you also remember that the Dark Universe cancelled its other entries after the film’s failure? Do you ALSO remember that Johnny Depp was originally attached to play the titular Invisible Man?
Now–Universal Studios has decided to reboot their classic monster movies from the 1930s without a hint of the Dark Universe. Australian filmmaker Leigh Whannel, known for writing the screenplays for Saw and Dead Silence, directing Upgrade, and stealing the show as a paranormal investigator in the Insidious movies, has adapted H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name. Unlike other adaptations from the past (the original 1933 version and the 2000 film Hollow Man), this latest version of The Invisible Man is a timely allegory of the #MeToo movement. Holding a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.6/10 on IMDb, I am amazed how much people actually liked this movie. I cannot agree any less.
Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), an architect from San Francisco, escapes from the abuse of her wealthy boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), an optics scientist. She lives with her good friend/police officer James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). One day, she gets news that Adrian has committed suicide, leaving $5 million under her name. However, Cecilia doesn’t believe he died. Because of this, she starts noticing bizarre occurrences of an invisible presence has arrived to terrorize her. Her sanity becomes tested when she is eventually checked into a mental institution.
It’s clear the movie has similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s 2018 film Unsane, I could write a whole book about it. But–the plot above is more than enough. The first half-hour had promise; the opening scene is fabulous and there are some suspense-filled moments. However, the narrative is riddled with plot holes bigger than the tunnels in Boston, characters making stupid decisions as an excuse to keep the film going, and there are plenty of twists and turns I could see from a mile away. Not to mention, the effects look fine…maybe in the late-1990s. Moss does a rock-solid job, but can we please give her a lead role in a charming, light-hearted romance film for once?