Universal deciding to scrap their “Dark Universe” idea and stick to individual storytelling may be one of the smartest moves they have made in a long time.
To kick this plan off with an updated version of one of their classic, but not necessarily big-named, movie monsters was clever.
The film overall was good. It was suspenseful and tense right from the first scene, and that feeling carried on throughout the film in a number of ways. The main way being the actual plot of the film. Cecilia Kass has managed to escape from her abusive significant other in an opening segment that is heart pounding. Cecilia, now somewhere safe, is trying to get back to a “normal” life, but the thought of her ex still haunts her. Until one day, she finds out that her ex, Adrian Griffin, has committed suicide, and left her his fortune. She doesn’t buy this for one second, and she’s smart not to.
The update to the story was necessary. But, don’t be confused by my title: the fears addressed in this film have always existed. However, with the added bonus of technology, these fears have become incredibly heightened.
Here comes one of the edits made to the story of the Invisible Man: Adrian Griffin, being a leader in the world of optics, has created a suit to make himself invisible. This suit is made of tiny cameras in order to render the wearer invisible. The most clever thing about this change to the story is that, when the audience can see the suit while the villain is wearing it, it’s just as unsettling, if not more so, than when he is invisible.
The story isn’t the only way that the film keeps up the suspense. The camera work is all very clever. Director/writer Leigh Whannel clearly thought out the framing for each scene. In most scenes, Cecilia is shown on one side of the screen, with a big open space next to her, showing vulnerability and, visually, creating an uneasy feeling in the viewer.
Elisabeth Moss gave a “class A” performance. Her fear came through loud and clear and contributed to that tenseness throughout the film. I am thankful, as well, that this story, with themes of voyeurism and manipulation, ended triumphantly for the main character.
The other notable aspect of the film that I feel is worth mentioning is the score composed by Benjamin Wallfisch. The score gives the film that classic movie monster feeling, while perfectly helping to build and hold the tension, without being obvious about it. Wallfisch builds on an eerie piano melody in such a marvelous way. It has quickly become one of my favorite modern film scores.
For being a February release, I was pleasantly surprised with this film. If Universal can keep this up with their films that focus on the classic monsters separately, I will be in the theater for every single one of them.
I’m a sucker for a good movie monster.