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The Invisible Man (2020) - Blu-ray Review

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The Invisible Man

Though more than eighty years have passed since Claude Rains donned the dark sunglasses, smoking jacket, and yards of ACE bandages in 1933’s The Invisible Man, the character still holds a firm place in the pantheon of Universal’s classic movie monsters. That’s not only a testament to the legacy of the studio’s monster characters, but also a bold statement about the themes they represent and the timelessness of the cultural fears and social anxieties that surround them.

"It’s R-rated fun with plenty of blood, violence, camp, nastiness, and frightening characters. Who needs the Dark Universe, anyway?"


 

As did James Whale in the ’33 original, writer/director Leigh Whannell (Saw, The Conjuring) works modern day themes into his reimagining of The Invisible Man, a film which represents a fresh, new direction and a drastic departure from Universal’s initial vision of a Dark Universe that was to feature many of the studio’s famed monsters. As a result, The Invisible Man is a fresh, new take on an old time classic. And just like many of those classic monster tales from back in the day, this one is certain to scare the pants off a whole new generation of horror lovers.

Despite a shared character and a few universal similarities, the two films really couldn’t be any more different as Whale concentrated his tale on the descent into madness of a deranged scientist, while this modern take comes from the point of view of the villain’s victim. And that is Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), a smart, strong woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship.

Following a Hitchcock-inspired opening title sequence, we join the film as Cecilia is sneaking out of the cliffside mansion she shares with tech industry millionaire husband Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Griffin). She slips out during the middle of the night and takes refuge in the home of her cop friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). The film then jumps forward two weeks where we see Cecilia is still in a hyper-paranoid state, afraid to even walk outside to the mailbox. {googleads}

It’s not long before Cecilia receives word that her husband is now dead, having taken his own life. Then Adrian’s brother informs her of a $5 million trust established in her name… but there are conditions to receiving the money. For Cecilia, this all sounds too good to be true and her hunch proves to be correct as she begins to suspect that Adrian – an optics guru – has figured out a way to make himself invisible. She senses his presence as he sneaks, undetected, into James’ house and watches her when she is alone.

Of course nobody believes her, but we know she’s right and Whannell expertly uses this unseen power to maximum effect as we watch Cecilia descend into a literal nightmare. She tries to convince James and even her sister that she is being terrorized, but it’s all too easy to dismiss her fear and paranoia and blame it on mental illness and hysteria. Whannell uses the idea of an invisible force that exerts its control over a woman and updates the film’s classic premise with a powerful and timely metaphor about our current climate of toxic masculinity.

Whannell builds up to the final chapter’s frantic sequences with a slow burn of near motionless scenes as his camera frequently lets a scene marinate in the juices of the audience’s imagination. The horror is found in the empty corner of a room or at the end of a darkened hallway. We’re on pins and needles as we scan the frames, looking for the smallest of actions. We might notice that a once visible knife on the kitchen counter is now missing. Or we may spot an invisible footprint pressing itself into the bathroom rug. As he showed us in Paranormal Activity, Whannell knows that the root of fear and horror lies in the things we don’t see rather than from those we do. Let an audience imagine what they want to see and you’ll have them eating out of your hands. As a result, we totally buy into Whannell’s frightening tale that reminds us that what we can’t see, can hurt us.The Invisible Man

As expected, Whannell’s ace in the hole is Moss, who, despite her pair of Golden Globe wins, has seemingly spent her career waiting for this role. The Invisible Man is essentially a one-person show and Moss brings a lot of her Handmaid’s Tale baggage to the set as she totally sells us on the conflict and turmoil of an abused woman. Despite Whannell’s expertise behind the camera, none of this works as well as it does without Moss in the lead role. Even more proof that large budgets and a stable of A-listers aren’t needed to frighten an audience out of its wits.

More than eighty years removed from Claude Rains’ bespectacled take on one of Universal’s most beloved classic movie monsters, the invisible man reappears and brings with him one of the greatest horror films in quite some time. It’s R-rated fun with plenty of blood, camp, violence, nastiness, and frightening characters. Who needs the Dark Universe, anyway?

5/5 stars

The Invisible Man

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Universal
Available on Blu-ray
- May 26, 2020
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby AtmosEnglish: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Universal's The Invisible Man character comes rambling back to life in 1080p on Universal's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code edition of The Invisible Man. The glossy slip-covered eco case contains a blu-ray disc with the film and extra features, a DVD copy of the film, and a digital redemption coupon.

Included amongst the ample bonus materials are a feature-length audio commentary with writer/director Leigh Whannell, a handful of deleted scenes, some behind-the-scenes looks, and cast and crew interviews, and more.

This is a very nice, well-rounded package that's sure to please both fans of the movie as well as home theater aficionados while also paying mad respect to the source material. Pick up a copy of The Invisible Man on blu-ray before they disappear from store shelves. You won't regret it.

Video

As expected, the 1080p 2.39:1 presentation of The Invisible Man is top quality with much of the action taking place in dimly lit interiors where colors hold steadfast and image quality rarely falters. The occasional patch of unwanted grain or even digital crush appears in some of the darker scenes, but it's never enough to lower the marks.

The Invisible Man is not a very colorful movie (in fact, quite muted thought most) and as such, your system isn't necessarily going to get a brag-worthy workout, however colors are always true with the subtlety of skin tones holding firm while the brightly lit exterior scenes are breathtakingly saturated.

Audio

Never loud but always creeping in from all sides and corners of the room, the release's Dolby Atmos track is, in a way, the star of the show here despite its almost subdued presence. As one might expect, there's always something going on with the front channel carrying the majority of dialogue while the sides, rears, and the ever-present heights of the Atmos system stay busy throughout. The sweeping score from composer Benjamin Wallfisch soars around the room making full use of he entire audio dome.

However, the film's moments of absolute silence (there are plenty of those) carry the most weight as we scan the edges of the frame looking for the smallest of actions in absolute silence.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature commentary with director Leigh Whannell

Special Features:

Included on the blu-ray disc are three short featurettes that contain some behind-the-scenes footage as well as interviews and discussions pertaining to certain aspects of the film's making.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Moss Manifested
  • Director's Journey with Leigh Whannell
  • The Players
  • Timeless Terror

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

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The Invisible Man

MPAA Rating: R for some strong bloody violence, and language..
Runtime:
124 mins
Director
: Leigh Whannell
Writer:
Leigh Whannell
Cast:
Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer
Genre
: Horror | Thriller
Tagline:
What You Can't See Can Hurt You.
Memorable Movie Quote: "He said that wherever I went, he would find me, walk right up to me, and I wouldn't be able to see him."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: https://www.theinvisiblemanmovie.com/
Release Date:
February 28, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 26, 2020.
Synopsis: When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

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The Invisible Man

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