Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Invisible Man (2020)

Elizabeth Moss stars in The Invisible Man, the latest release from Blumhouse Productions, updating the classic story for the current moment. More of a suspense thriller than a straight horror film, genre tropes are used effectively to portray the psychology of an abusive relationship and gas lighting. There's also a role reversal: the subject of the film is not the invisible man, but the woman he's terrorizing. 

The film begins with Cecilia (Moss) making a night time escape from her tech magnate boyfriend Adrian's seaside mansion, the sequence takes it time with an eye on every painstaking detail. Provided safe haven by her friends, she learns Adrian has died, but left her an allowance in his will overseen by his brother. Yet Cecilia senses she's being watched. Her feeling of being watched soon turns into physical assaults. Explanations for Cecilia's paranoid behavior leave everyone baffled and cause them to question her sanity.

The second half of the film features an assortment of clever plot twists, with sly references to North by Northwest and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Moss's multi faceted performance, a woman dealing with PTSD who becomes an empowered survivor, carries the the story along like a strong current. Men are on the periphery of the story, but the conniving possessive nature of her former Silicone Valley phenom Adrian (Elon Musk comes to mind) and his equally duplicitous brother.

The Invisible Man has the distinct Blumhouse Production look - heightened middlebrow within a believable environment. As a study in gas lighting, the art of deception by men usually directed towards women, the film gracefully makes it point. 

***1/2


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