After the cinematic non-starter that was Universal’s so-called Dark Universe, we were incredibly excited when the studio announced a new take on one of their flagship monsters from the mind of Leigh Whannell. Today we got a first look at The Invisible Man and the trailer promises a chillingly contemporary take on the classic character.
The conversation around domestic violence, gaslighting, and the abuse that women suffer at the hands of powerful men has been one that has defined much of the last couple of years. A wider understanding of emotional abuse and the ways it’s used to control people in abusive relationships has driven more nuanced discourse around coercion, manipulation, and the dangers of narcissistic personalities. What does any of this have to do with The Invisible Man? Looking at this first trailer, Whannell’s film has taken the concept of a scientist who ends up invisible and flipped it on its head, with The Haunting of Hill House’s Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the wealthy Adrian Griffin who seems to be using his newly found powers to torment his ex-girlfriend, who’s recently escaped his abusive grasp.
There’s one major problem, though. At the opening of the trailer, a lawyer reveals Adrian is dead. He slit his wrists and left his long-suffering partner $5 million… if she can pass a test to prove she’s mentally stable. It’s a brutal set up that quickly descends into darkness as Elizabeth Moss’ Cecilia tries to prove that her dead abuser is the one trying to destroy her life. It’s a high-concept take on a creation who has usually been the hero or at least anti-hero of all of his films. Here though, the titular monster is very much that, a monster. Moss and Jackson-Cohen are both powerhouse performers so we’re very excited to see them take on this unusual and timely take on a stone-cold horror classic.
The trailer doesn’t just set up the intriguing premise but also showcases Whannell’s flair for action which if you’ve seen his gritty action sci-fi Upgrade, you’ll know is very very exciting. As Cecilia tries to escape a hospital, we get a glimpse of an action scene that features a bunch of security guards and cops getting demolished by the Invisible Man in increasingly inventive ways and we honestly can’t wait to see the full sequence as it looks utterly brilliant. Moss and Cohen star alongside Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid, who play Cecilia’s childhood friend and his young daughter, and Harriet Dyer who plays her sister.
The film comes from Universal and Blumhouse and was shot in Whannell’s home country of Australia earlier this year. It’s a totally different take on the Universal Monsters than we’ve seen before and we’ll be very interested to see how it fares. And, of course, whether it could spark the shared universe of monster films the studio once dreamed of. For now, we’re just really digging the dark, horror soaked take on the iconic character that this trailer promises.
The Invisible Man hits screens in February next year.
Header Image: Universal Pictures/Blumhouse