Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 19, 2020)
Thanks to the worldwide shutdown caused by COVID-19, 2020’s The Invisible Man may go down as one of the year’s bigger hits – with a US gross of about $64 million. As I write in May 2020, that places it fifth on the year’s box office charts, and it remains anyone’s guess how much that’ll change, as we don’t know when – or if – Hollywood will get back into the swing.
Wherever Man winds up on the 2020 charts, it’ll still qualify as a success, mainly because it came with such a low budget. The flick cost a mere $7 million and pulled in almost $123 million worldwide, so clearly Universal turned a nice profit.
And it seems clear that when – if? – the world returns to normal, we’ll get a second chapter. COVID-19 may alter our future lives in many ways, but you can’t kill Hollywood’s appetite for sequels.
Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) lives with her wealthy, brilliant optics engineer boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in his opulent Bay Area mansion. However, Adrian’s controlling behavior becomes too much for Cecilia, so she flees.
Adrian doesn’t accept this without a fight. Though Cecilia attempts to escape in the middle of the night – and she drugged him to aid in her flight – he comes after her, so she barely gets away from him.
Despite her physical distance from Adrian, Cecilia still fears her possessive, vindictive ex will come after her. These concerns dissipate when he commits suicide.
Or do they? Even though Adrian apparently resides six feet under, Cecilia believes he faked his death and he now uses technology to render himself invisible.
Thus Cecilia continues to deal with Adrian – or her own mental breakdown. Cecilia works to discover if her invisible ex haunts her or if she struggles with her perception of reality.
Caution: spoilers ahead!
I'm 53 years old. I've seen thousands of movies in my life, and I'm sure I've seen hundreds of horror movies.
I get that many - most? - of these require varying levels of suspension of disbelief, and I can do that. However, Invisible Man offers the proverbial bridge too far, as it requires destruction of disbelief.
From literally the movie's opening scenes, Man pursues paths that make zero sense at all. For instance, we see Cecilia as utterly controlled by Adrian, and I can dig that, but then the movie stretches credulity.
For instance, how did Cecilia get the drugs to give to him? How did she avoid his gaze long enough to obtain birth control pills?
"Oh, Adrian didn't keep her walled in their home all the time - he let her out!"
Sure, okay - I'll swallow that.
So why does Cecilia wait to run away from him until they're asleep together in bed? Why not just go to her sister's place during a pharmacy run?
And the movie makes the title character utterly omnipotent. He's everywhere without a single sign of detection - except for the eye-rolling "scare moment" when he conveniently allows a big puff of air to escape in the cold, which lets us see his breath.
How does Adrian breathe in his suit? Every square inch appears to be covered in cameras.
How does he not make a sound? He's there all the time, quieter than a pack of ninjas. The dude never lets a fart slip, or coughs, or even sniffles?
How does he get around? Does he have an invisible car? Does he call Invisible Uber?
How does he eat? Why is his old house left open, even though it's a crime scene and has been abandoned?
Why is the dog still there? Why didn't anyone take Poochie into their care?
How does Adrian fake his own death? Who's the cremated guy in the urn?
How does Invisible Adrian not cast a shadow? He's not magically invisible - he's still there, so even though we can't see him, light still doesn't pass through him.
How did Adrian become a skilled warrior on a par with Neo? He seems virtually unstoppable and he conquers all foes with ease.
Why does her pal James (Aldis Hodge) tell Cecilia she needs to leave, but then he takes his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid) and goes, while he allows Cecilia to stay in the house?
How is Adrian's lawyer brother (Michael Dorman) going to get Cecilia off for murder? She appeared to kill her sister in a room full of people.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Literally not a minute of this movie passes without a plot point that makes absolutely zero sense.
The cast does the best they can, but the greatest actors in the world couldn't overcome this utterly idiotic script. If my Mom’s warnings that ugly faces would stay that way proved true, Man would’ve caused my eyes to permanently remain rolled back in my head.
I’ll give the movie a "D-" because of the actors. Everything else about it insults the audience's intelligence at every opportunity and makes this a thoroughly silly and inane attempt at horror.