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The Invisible Man (2020) (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

I’ve been a fan of Leigh Whannell (And James Wan) since the the original Saw put them on the map. Long have I admired how those can make five dollars look like 80 million dollars on the screen. The two, in both their respective directing careers have showcase such smaller film that have larger impacts and experiences. Heck, just the other day, Forbes’ Scott Mendelson pointed out with Aquaman that sure its an expensive movie, but he’s shocked it wasn’t even more expensive to an ungodly degree. Whannell isn’t quite to overstuffed budgeted blockbuster tentpoles yet, but he certainly is on track. His previous film, Upgrade, was my favorite film of 2018. So, it was with great excitement when not only did I hear he was directing a new Invisible Man feature, but that he was teaming with Blumhouse for it. That’s about as perfect a marriage as can be. And perfect it was. You’ll be able to check out this modern horror masterpiece in the finest 4K presentation when it arrives on May 26th!

Film

After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back.

Modernizing a classic is typically what remakes were there for at one time, and its all too easy to either come up with something mediocre or get it all wrong. One of the best angles of retreading a once popular, beloved territory is to mainly pull a core idea from what makes it tick and find a path to go your own way. For more recent (I suppose) times, Zack Snyder and James Gunn understood that when they utilized the core of zombies and survivors stranded in a shopping mall for their successful Dawn of the Dead remake. Here, Leigh Whannell decides that in order to make this monster scary again, we needed to be feeling this terror from the perspective of the victim.

This traumatizing and gas lighting story is all too perfect and at home with the current times we live in. Whannell found a lightning in a bottle situation with this one and let up at no turn. The Invisible Man had been attempted before with more prominent examples being the likes of Memoirs of An Invisible Man and Hollow Man, which more or less were far from nailing it (Despite my adoration for Memoirs). In giving us a woman haunted by an abuser and the world around her thinking her challenges with returning to a normal life, we are given a new sense of intensity, struggle and making the films monster even more deadly, awful and horrifying.

The Invisible Man‘s plot and script are strong enough on their own right and its very well directed, but the absolute ace in the hole here is Elizabeth Moss. People like to call great performances a “tour de force” and this is literally the definition of that. From start to finish, she’s absolutely amazing. Its an all in raging case of emotions and a bout with fighting for her sanity. All over Moss’s face is wear, tear, fright and struggle. Moss conveys so much energy and information with just her eyes and unspeaking mouth alone. Her body language absolute dynamite. She takes a complete beating in this role and its incredibly exhausting to watch. This wasn’t easy to channel, this wasn’t easy to film. Its a master class performance and the key ingredient that elevates the film for all time. It will be a shame if she’s overlooked come awards season next year.

Pairing well with Moss is director Whannell, who utilizes his unique vision and dedication to telling stories with old school camera tricks and practical effects. There are an odd amounts of similar ideas, settings and choreography that liken this to his previous film Upgrade. But, when you’re dealing with a singular voice that tends to shine through. What it proves is that Whannell is beyond just coasting on other acclaims to land low key directing jobs. The man has a distinct voice and vision. He’s someone who is going to be making films we are going to be analyzing and talking about with great interest for years to come. In Invisible Man, he showcases a visual language that toys with the viewer, has our eyes wandering and appreciating every frame or movement as we search to see if we can see any hint of Adrian being hidden. There are also some absolutely cleverly staged reveals and fights that help to feel the punches and bite our nails with the suspense.

There’s half a year left to go, but Leigh Whannell has a strong chance at having delivered my favorite film again. The Invisible Man is an outstanding modern masterpiece in horror and a fantastic example of how to retread on known IPs to reintroduce them for a modern audience. Elizabeth Moss provides an all time performance and is truly special. I’ve spoken more thoughts on the film earlier this year on Out Now With Aaron & Abe if you’d like to continue listening to me slobbering all over this movie. You can find that episode of the podcast and listen by CLICKING HERE.

Video

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: The Invisible Man brings the excitement of being a native 4K film having been shot in 4.5K and mastered with a 4K digital intermediate in its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut. And this image brings a whole new definition to the word “perfection”. Details are just rampant up and down with an incredible sharpness to go with good coloring, black levels and usage of HDR. This one has a look that is right down to the touch or as if you were sitting across the room from someone in some of the more well lit sequences. The Invisible Man is one of the best images yet to hit the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format.

Depth: Depth of field is terrific with some outstanding looks of foreground and background relations. Looking through holes in the attack, a doorway or windows shows a further push and length down a hall type feel to it. The scene at the mailbox as the jogger approaches feels in the moment, free and as if hes coming right at you. Spacing rocks as you can easily see the free space with objects flying and floating int he mid-air. Motion is smooth, natural and without any distortions whatsoever. A clean image.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and feature such outstanding saturation. From the jump, you can see the amount of great shadow work and retention of details in the darkness. Hair follicles, patterns, surface texture and more is plan as day and plenty visible no matter how dark they are. No crushing present.

Color Reproduction:  This has a more natural look to it, but there are some nice pops where color needs to be present. Mostly it comes from the way the HDR sticks out in the darkness via digital displays, lights coming from windows or open doors, phone brightness and more. This is one of the finest and flashiest usages of the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format’s biggest advantages.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and feel plenty flush with a consistency showcasing from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures comes through crystal clear, plain as day and as if you are looking at the person on screen through a window. This one has an outstanding picture quality and you can just take it in from any aspect in any scene.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio

Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Completing the full excellence of this release is the dynamic and outright masterful Atmos track to accompany this movie. Who knew such a little Blumhouse movie could rock you harder than Birds of Prey. I know, but here we are. This mix is a genius one, in playing with volumes, light sounds, showcasing an excellence in silent ambiance and traveling the room with every camera swoop. You can really feel the action and just soak that much more into the film you’re watching thanks to this magnificent track.

Height: Up above you get plenty of attention, like rain, added action and some filling moments in the score.

Low-Frequency Extension: This gives your subwoofer plenty of range to work with and has the perfect impact for both the sound and the moment with which it is a focus. Gunshots, fire, crashing, punching, car engines and more gauge a good rumble and pound to further the engagement of the feature.

Surround Sound Presentation: The expertly mixed track has quite fun with playing in and crafting every interior environment in the film. Its always aware of offscreen action where it is and how it travels. Rolling action and just having things swoop around the screen are a riveting and fun experience that heighten the impressiveness of the experience.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp with fantastic attention to detail of actor diction and mouth inflections and sounds when speaking. Volume levels and feeling apart of any environment are set a precise measurements.

Extras

The Invisible Man comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a Movies Anywhere Digital Code. All the features are presented in 4K with SDR.

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer/Director Leigh Whannell

Deleted Scenes

  • Annie (4K, 1:50)
  • Changing Room Montage (4K, 1:30)
  • Blow It Up. Make It Rain. Out To Sea. (4K, :53)
  • Daisies (4K, 1:11)
  • Where’s My Phone? (4K, 1:24)
  • Butt Chug (4K, 1:44)
  • There’s Someone Sitting In That Chair (4K, 3:16)
  • I Can Do This (4K, 1:00)
  • Insanity Defense (4K, :49)

Moss Manifested (4K, 3:54) – Elizabeth Moss talks about what inspired her to take the role, the amount of input Leigh Whannell gave her and doing the kitchen fight scene and the final scene (Which was shot in the first week). Jason Blum and Michael Dorman also chime in on what Elizabeth does to make the film great. Features behind the scenes footage, too.

Director’s Journal With Leigh Whannell (4K, 10:51) – Featuring some gorgeous behind the scenes location footage, this featurette focuses on Leigh Whannell’s journey from his initial landing of the project (Long time lover of horror, especially iconic monsters), excited to take it in a new direction and going through shooting the movie. It picks through specific days, has a lot of on set commentary from Whannell and really showcases his passion for the genre.

The Players (4K, 5:24) – The supporting cast gives little brief notables about who they play and what the experience is working with some of the other cast and Whannell. Jason Blum and Whannell chime in here and there to provide some added depth on their piece in the story.

Timeless Terror (4K 3:04) – Leigh Whannell discusses his prior experience with the title character and the way to make it modern, grounded in reality (Technology) and to tell the story of the victim, not the monster. He discusses his desire to have the Invisible Man exploit his power in a ruthless way. Whannell is also very aware of treading carefully with a beloved property, but he also couldn’t let that hold him back from making a good movie.

Summary

The Invisible Man is a modern masterpiece of modern horror filmmaking and in general remaking property IPs. I’m completely over the moon for this thriller as well as this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release that brings it home. For both visuals and audio, The Invisible Man is the top of the line and demo worthy material. I’d rate it quite possible as the best disc out there this year. The extras are a pretty solid handful and a welcome batch considering how they can be for modern movies. Its a little quick and fluffy with the featurettes, but they aren’t throwaway and Whannell has a nice commentary not to be overlooked. This is a must have for the film itself, but also for what it offers in home theater presentation.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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