Nominations: Best Movie, Best Lead Actor/Actress, Most Unexpected Success, Best Special Effects, Best Director
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Director: Leigh Whannell
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Universal Pictures, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick
THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020) scored five nominations at the BTS Annual Horror Awards 2019/2020, and the film deserved each one. It’s interesting, tense, dark, strange and has a killer cast.
Elisabeth Moss definitely earned her nod for best actress. She portrays the lead protagonist Cecilia as sympathetic from jump. In the opening sequence, we see her escape her dipshit, rich, abusive boyfriend, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). She’s desperate not to wake him, and delivers some heart-stopping scenes as she quietly leaves. The panic the character feels definitely transcends to the audience and that’s all Moss.
I’ve seen this a few times and it was actually the last flick I saw in the theatre. Each time, I yell “run bitch, run!” Sometimes I’m animated when I watch a movie, and THE INVISIBLE MAN brings that out in me very easily.
Usually, I’d turn cold on a wench who abandoned her dog to a psycho, which Cecilia does. To be fair, she does do this half-assed attempt at freeing the pooch but she doesn’t grab him and run the way she should. I’m still pissed at Cecilia for leaving him behind. There was no need for that, but Moss does show the internal turmoil the character is going thru, so I almost forgive her. Still, she could have taken the pup.
When Cecilia is away from Adrian and thinks he’s dead, Moss goes to great efforts to show Cecilia slowly change for the better. She becomes a bit more relaxed and at ease. She becomes more confident in her own decisions and really does begin to bloom. Of course, that doesn’t last long as she near immediately feels Adrian’s presence around her. Though some believe her to be paranoid, she realizes her intuition is on the ball and that Adrian has made himself invisible so that he could ruin her life. Still, she doesn’t fall back into her old ways. She doesn’t run back to him or further away. She refuses to play his games and refuses to be the victim. She strikes back like a bitch pushed too far, and goes for blood. She takes no prisoners and abandons all self-doubt. This is a difficult role to make believable, but Moss pulls off Cecilia’s evolution wonderfully. We see the steps it takes to go from someone crippled by fear to one who overcomes it.
I do have a mild confession. At times, I found myself rooting for Adrian’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman). I know! He’s a complete douche-nozzle, but he’s extremely hot. I mean, he’s extremely H-A-W-T! All that shit he did to Cecilia on behalf of his psycho brother was whack, but the man looks good. I want to root for Cecilia every step of the way, and usually I do. When dummy Adrian is fucking with her, I’m totally on her side. It’s just there’s something shady-mysterious and sexy-sleazy about his brother.
Sometimes, my libido overrules my brain and in the case of Tom, that happens more than once in this film. If there was a Sexiest Villain award, he would have definitely been nominated there. RAWR RAWR RAWR RAWR Sexy bad boy Tom has it going on! Don’t blame me. Blame the casting director for making one of the major antagonists a RAWRtastic hottie. That’s their fault!
Anyways, writer/director Leigh Whannell is magnificent in setting the tone, building the apprehension and paving the way for the cast to tell such a compelling and captivating story.
So often are new treads on old material boring, affected and just plain awful. Either they are near exact remakes like the dreadful nonsense that was Gus Van Sant’s PSYCHO (1998) or new spins on old material, that are all CGI and no heart like THE MUMMY (2017). In THE INVISIBLE MAN, we have the mix of a classic monster, new ideas and special effects that work with the film rather than being the focal point. All of the components come together in a terrific way that delivers on all fronts.
THE INVISIBLE MAN is a fun and crazy horror ride that puts a Fem Goddess Rockstar in the lead, who can believably play hard. I wasn’t as shocked that this was a success as some people, I suppose. Then again, with how the Universal Monsters have been treated, I can certainly see why its quality and reception was a pleasant surprise to some.