The Invisible Man follows a woman who escapes her abusive boyfriend in the middle of the night. The wealthy scientist then commits suicide weeks later. After he leaves his fortune to her, she begins to experience hauntings within her home that she is convinced is her ex-boyfriend through some means of invisibility.
The Invisible Man Review
It is my opinion that this is what remakes are all about. I praised the Child's Play remake for similar reasons, lauding the balance between homage and creative freedoms. The Invisible Man follows suit, though I suppose it admittedly strays far more onto the side of creative freedoms. But it's worth it in this case.
The Invisible Man uses its premise to utilize the horror/thriller elements to fuel the study and awareness towards domestic violence. It chooses to allude to most of the abuse within the home, rather creating a powerful metaphor for the ensuing trauma that follows the escape. We get it all in the form of an invisible maniac, who manages to materialize all the true experiences of a woman who is forced to endure such a situation in real life. She is forced to convince police, friends, and family that she is still in danger despite being able to escape, and the hesitancy she often witnesses maddeningly parallels reality.
Everything from the cinematography, acting, and score meticulously symbolize the psychological trauma she must survive. Her justified paranoia is seen as harmless psychological issues to those around her. The score emphasizes this with a wave-like flow that is hauntingly reminiscent of the crashing waves that hit the coast outside the ex-boyfriend's massive home. We, as an audience, are regularly exposed to her situation and experience it across all senses cinema can muster.
Without going into detail for the sake of spoilers, the approach to the invisible man aesthetic is executed perfectly as it transitions from a very realistic haunting to a more visceral danger. The film manages to make scenes devoid entirely of anything frightening feel genuinely unsettling. Just like the protagonist, you know something is there, but you don't know what it's going to do or when it's going to do it.
Perhaps that "when?" is a bit slow of a process. While I commend the film for not rushing anything, especially as it pertains to the processing of her experiences, the film does lull a couple of times, though relatively briefly. And the final act, while expectedly clever, lacks the punch you may think deserving of the moment. However, neither of these flaws damn the production as a whole and the message it delivers rings truer through the methods they chose. It can perhaps be perceived as a pure, superficial horror/thriller being transformed into a comprehensive dark drama with a voice for those that often don't have one. But to its credit, this movie has more going on for the horror/thriller-inclined than simply a dark drama.
It's relieving to be heading into March with that momentum I wished for last week. Here's to hoping it continues with some promising theatrical entries through the month of March.