Following the failure of Universal Pictures’ attempt to revive its dormant monster franchise with the big-budget disaster ‘The Mummy’ starring Tom Cruise, the studio opted to go in the opposite direction, enlisting low-budget horror makers Blumhouse to strip things down and update its properties as modern thrillers.
The first picture in this potential franchise is ‘The Invisible Man’, written and directed by Leigh Whannell, creator of the ‘Insidious’ series. ‘The Handmaid’s tale’s Elisabeth Moss stars as Cecilia Kass, “who is trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist,” Adrian Griffin, portrayed by ‘The Haunting of Hill House’s Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who has previously been described as “a billionaire sociopath who made his money by developing an invisibility suit for the Department of Defense.”
Per Entertainment Weekly:
Cecilia escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge), and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid). But when Cecilia’s abusive ex dies by suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turn lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
Considering the subject, Cecilia is right. In a set of first-look photos, provided by EW, we see Cecilia in the shower with an ominous handprint and her dressed in scrubs in what looks to be a mental hospital.
Between the shower and the rain, it looks like Moss spent a lot of time getting soaked for this role.
Discussing ‘The Invisible Man’, Whannell said:
“The image of the Invisible Man in the floating trench coat and the floating sunglasses is one that is clearly etched into the public consciousness. I wanted to kind of get away from that and make something that was really modern, really grounded, or as grounded as you can be when you’re dealing with a film called The Invisible Man. Just something that was really tense and scary in a way The Invisible Man hasn’t been before. There are some great actors in the film, Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid from A Wrinkle in Time, these are the supporting cast, and they’re such great performers. Having said that, the script is really a one-woman show. Elisabeth Moss is the centerpiece of the film, and she’s in pretty much every scene. I feel like, if you’re going to hang an entire film on someone’s shoulders, you need an actor as good as Lizzie.”
While ‘The Invisible Man’ is hoped to be the first of a franchise of reinventions, Whannell has not thought about making a direct sequel to this picture just yet.
“I don’t know. I haven’t put any thought into a sequel. I’m a pretty superstitious filmmaker. I don’t want to jinx anything. I’ve been involved with movies that have had a lot of sequels, like the original Saw film obviously spawned a whole franchise, as did Insidious. But I can tell you with total honesty that in the case of both of those films, I never thought about a sequel. I would never want to jinx the release of a movie by thinking about what comes next.”
Provided that ‘The Invisible Man’ performs, expect Blumhouse to further raid the Universal Monsters toybox, but the studio hasn’t completely abandoned its prior plans for a Dark Universe. Paul Feig is currently developing a movie called ‘Dark Army’ which also draws from the Universal Monster brand and may be a slightly larger picture than Whannell’s.
At any rate, ‘The Invisible Man’ hits theaters first, arriving on February 28, 2020.
What do you think so far?