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Blu-ray/DVD Review: THE INVISIBLE MAN

May 25 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

The Invisible Man is the latest adaptation of the iconic character, but with a more grounded, modern take, and a horror movie slant. Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) has been in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Adrian is a smart and manipulative man, who has amassed a small fortune as a world leader in the field of optics. He is a narcissist sociopath who knows people’s weaknesses and how to get into their heads. He has been playing his games with Cecilia for years, but she has decided to finally make her escape. So, in the middle of the night, she puts her plan into action, and just narrowly manages to get away.

Cecilia and her younger sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) have had a strained relationship over the years, but Emily arranges for Cecilia to stay with her friend, single father/cop James (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Even though she escaped her captor, Cecilia is still experiencing some PTSD, and is always paranoid that Adrian will find her—she can’t even make it as far as the mailbox before panicking and running back into the house. Even after she receives word from from Tom Griffin (Michael Dorman) that his brother Adrian has passed away, Cecilia is not ready to let down her guard. She begins to sense Adrian’s presence, and swears that she is seeing and hearing him. Cecilia is convinced that Adrian is stalking her, and systematically trying to tear apart her life and hurt the ones she loves. However, whenever Cecilia tries to tell others about this, she comes off as a crazy person. Is Adrian really alive and once again manipulating and controlling her, or is this all just in her head?! How can Cecilia stop someone/something she can’t even see?!

“I was planning the whole thing in my mind, and he was staring at me, studying me, and without me saying a single word, he said that I could never leave him. That wherever I went, he would find me. That he would walk right up to me and I wouldn’t be able to see him, but that he would leave me a sign so that I’d know that he was there.”

When I first saw this film in the theater, I was blown away. Elisabeth Moss is fantastic in this role, really selling Cecilia’s paranoia and emotional breakdown, even when acting against nothing. Writer/director Leigh Whannell masterfully builds the tension over the course of the film. He constantly plays with the audience’s knowledge of movie tropes—in the audio commentary, he refers to this as “weaponizing an audience’s knowledge of movies against them”. The reveals are very deliberate and measured, constantly zigging when you expect the film to zag, and shocking the viewer with the unexpected at the most unexpected moments. Like any good horror film, there are also several jump scares and places where every viewer will audibly gasp in shock. To help build the tension for the audience, the director makes use of many wide shots without any coverage cutaways. As the viewer looks at these seemingly empty rooms, the paranoia and suspicion is perked—is there someone or something there that I should see? This leads to one of the most tense and amazing fight sequences I’ve seen, all amazingly done in nearly a single shot.

When re-watching the film on this Blu-ray release, I found myself just as engrossed the second time around. Universal’s Blu-ray release provides stellar picture and sound. The audio track is particularly impressive. As the movie opens, the room is filled with the sounds of heavy blowing winds and crashing waves. And the film’s relentlessly-pulsing electronic score constantly rattles the room while also elevating the tension. The picture looks quite clean, crisp and detailed, with a beautiful color palette that transforms over the course of the film. Universal’s release includes both a Blu-ray and a DVD disc packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover. There is an insert with a code to redeem for an HD Movies Anywhere digital copy of the film as well as a code for a bonus digital movie. The discs contain about 13 minutes of deleted scenes, over 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a thoroughly entertaining writer/director commentary.



What’s Included:

Film: (2:04:2)

    Blu-ray:

    • 1080p / Widescreen 2.39:1
    • Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service), Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

    DVD:

    • 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
    • Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

    Digital (code may not be valid after 6/30/2021):

    • HD digital copy redeemable via Movies Anywhere
    • Bonus Digital Movie (Offer Expires 10/16/20)
      Universal is updating their rewards program—details will be available on June 1.

Extras:

All of the bonus material is available on both discs. There is a convenient Play All option to go through all of the material.

  • Deleted Scenes (13:24)
    Collection of 9 deleted scenes. Play All, or select from:

    • Annie (1:50)
      James awkwardly introduces his friend Annie to Cecilia, and Cecilia to Annie.
    • Changing Room Montage (1:30)
      Sydney asks for Cecilia’s opinion on her date outfit.
    • Blow It Up. Make It Rain. Out To Sea. (:53)
      Emily preps Cecilia as they walk to the meeting with Adrian’s lawyer/brother.
    • Daisies (1:11)
      James and Cecilia talk about the flowers in her room, and Cecilia moving on with her life.
    • Where’s My Phone? (1:24)
      Cecilia verifies the contents of her portfolio, but puts it down to look for her missing keys and phone.
    • Butt Chug (1:44)
      Emily calls Cecilia, insisting she join her for a night out of heavy drinking to forget her worries,
    • There’s Someone Sitting in That Chair (3:16)
      James and Sydney arrive home to find Cecilia sitting on the floor in her room, crazily talking about how the door has been locked all night and that someone is sitting in the chair in the room.
    • I Can Do This (1:00)
      James gives Sydney some words of encouragement.
    • Insanity Defense (:49)
      After their interrogation, the other officer tells James that Cecilia needs treatment.
  • Moss Manifested (3:55)
    Star Elisabeth Moss (“Cecilia Kass”) talks about her character, why she signed on to the character drama, her epic fight scene, the emotional challenges of the role, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with producer Jason Blum, and actor Michael Dorman (“Tom Griffin”).
  • Director’s Journey With Leigh Whannell (10:51)
    Cameras follow director/writer Leigh Whannell on this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film throughout its 40 days of shooting in Australia. The writer/director talks about how his love of horror films led him to this project, and taking a new approach with the familiar story. He also discusses the challenges of finding US-like locations, the use of practical effects, filming the big fight scene, and more. Stars Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge (“James Lanier”) also make some comments to the cameras.
  • The Players (5:24)
    The cast and filmmakers discuss each of the characters and the journeys they go on over the course of the film. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with director/writer Leigh Whannell, producer Jason Blum, stars Harriet Dyer (“Emily Kass”), Michael Dorman, Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid (“Sydney Lanier”) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Adrian Griffin”).
  • Timeless Terror (3:05)
    Writer/Director Leigh Whannell discusses modernizing an iconic character, approaching it from a horror sensibility, and grounding the story in reality. Also includes behind-the-scenes footage, and comments from producer Jason Blum.
  • Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Leigh Whannell (2:04:22)
    The writer/director provides an interesting, entertaining and informative commentary, covering all aspects of making the film. This is one of the most enjoyable commentaries I have listened to, providing a really interesting look behind-the-scenes, while also remaining really light and fun. Whannell instantly won me over when he opened this commentary by complaining about how the people talk and use their phones too brazenly in theaters these days.

 


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Film:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Highly Recommended

The Invisible Man is a thoroughly entertaining and exciting modern-day take on the iconic character. The film not only works as a thrilling horror movie, but also as an interesting character drama. It takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride, constantly subverting expectations. The cast is fantastic, led by a captivating performance from Elizabeth Moss. Universal’s Blu-ray release provides an excellent audio and video presentation and includes a solid selection of bonus material.