The Invisible Man (2020)
Watching Blumhouse’s latest take on The Invisible Man after watching the latest installment of HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Night probably wasn’t the best idea.
Or maybe it was because after seeing an hour focusing on the quest to find a real-life sociopath that (until recently) came up empty, spending two hours watching a fictional sociopath get caught in the end was a bit more satisfying.
The Invisible Man is a fascinating, suspenseful film that delights in making you pay close attention to every scene. Every bit of apparently empty background could have the titular character hiding it, ready to spring out and terrify our heroine, Cecilia. The movie even toys with the audience a bit, giving us long, lingering shots of empty rooms or hallways, almost as if daring you as a viewer to see if you can spot some clue that the Invisible Man is lurking there.
Escaping from her abusive and manipulative boyfriend, Cecilia is shocked when the boyfriend apparently kills himself and leaves behind a large sum of money to her. However, before long, Cecilia begins to suspect that Adrian is still alive and trying to pull her strings in an attempt to either win her back or force her to return to him by cutting all her means of support.
The game of cat and mouse plays out in a suspenseful, taut movie that mixes superlative performances by the cast with high and low tech special effects to achieve a disconcerting, eery viewing experience. The movie also makes use of its soundscape to keep you not only looking for clues but listening for them as well — anything to give away where the guy in the invisible body-suit could or may be hiding.
After the final credits eerily roll, I did a bit of deep diving on the movie, only to find that while it was created as a stand-alone film, the financial success of this one has led the creative team to consider a possible sequel. My first reaction is a sequel to this movie would be like all the terrible Jaws sequels. The film tells a complete, satisfying, suspenseful, scary story and I can’t see if or how a sequel would enhance that. But I’ve been wrong before and would love to see them surprise me.
The first ten minutes of Scoob give us a delightful origin story for the Mystery Machine crew, including the first meeting of Shaggy and Scooby before faithfully recreating the iconic opening credits of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
If only the other eighty or so minutes Scoob had been as much fun as those first ten, this might have been something really special.
Instead, it’s a decent, fun-at-times attempt to create a Hannah-Barbara multiverse. There are multiple Easter eggs from the Hannah-Barbara cartoons that I enjoyed growing up. But when it was all over, i wish some of the creative effort had spilled over into the main story.
A large part of this is the movie follows a page from the cartoons and separates the Mystery Machine crew into two groups — and then spends a lot of time focusing on Scooby and Shaggy. And while I get that Scooby is the star of this vehicle, I couldn’t find myself wishing for a bit more screentime for Fred, Daphne, and Velma.
There’s a story here about Scooby being the last descendent of a prestigious line of dogs and Dick Dastardly needing him to open a portal that will release the apocalypse. There are a few clever cameos — the Simon Cowell one is particularly ingenious — and some interesting side plots that never quite get the time they deserve, such as Fred’s attachment to the Mystery Machine.
And while it might be fun to see where a Hannah-Barbara shared multiverse could take us, this first entry feels like it’s trying too hard to set up more. I know that Iron Man started the whole MCU, but I think the biggest lesson it gave us (one that is far too easily overlooked) is that you have to tell a complete story for the film and then tease the audience that this is just the first step into a larger (potentially) world.