Dangerous Domicile

Invisible Man started life under HG Wells’ pen, a pre-WWI fable about science and madness. Universal’s film adaptation etched that story with wartime anxieties. In 2020, it’s purely domestic terror.

This update isn’t only smart – it’s skirting brilliance. Rather than rely on experiments driving madness, Invisible Man considers what if someone already controlling, abusive, and sinister discovered this technology. Perspective turns to the victim, and through Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), the audience too.

At two hours, maybe Invisible Man is too long. The camera spends extending periods staring at open doorways, or into empty rooms. Maybe he’s there. Maybe he’s stalking Cecilia. Could be there’s nothing. She doesn’t know, and neither does a viewer. On the soundtrack, uneven discordant screeches play, indicative of jump scares. Yet, nothing happens. That’s a sanity check and play on genre expectations. Invisible Man becomes a squirmy watch because smart misdirection refuses comfort.

Sitting through Invisible Man is grueling, cold, and relentlessly fierce

In this movie’s world where HG Wells never wrote his classic (or so it seems), no one believes Cecilia; the idea is too outlandish, more so than in a world where Wells’ work exists. An Uber driver gives her “the look” in the rearview as Cecilia panic calls her sister. Everyone judges and stares and shakes their head in her presence. Even in a more understanding 2020 culture, Invisible Man stages events where others look down on mental health struggles. It’s distressing as much as it is fatiguing.

Science fiction this Invisible Man is not. Rather than make his own body invisible, this more plausible method involves a rubber suit loaded with lenses. Specifics go unexplained; it just is, and that’s all it needs to be. What matters is the man inside, what he does, and not from a place of hysteria, but because cruelty is his way. Dominate, abusive men simmer in their hatred. Invisible Man gives one of those men a tool to freely act out their behavior.

Sitting through Invisible Man is grueling, cold, and relentlessly fierce. At no moment does it relax because Cecilia can’t either. Cecilia wakes up as Invisible Man begins, trying to leave her husband as he sleeps. As of yet, Invisible Man hasn’t offered explanation or exposition, yet the need to escape is clear. The house is surrounded by a solid concrete wall on one side, intense waves on the other. Discomforting, tight hallways feel claustrophobic. Moss’ award-worthy performance conveys all backstory and danger with her face alone. Like any domestic victim, that terror isn’t given time to rest.


Universal’s UHD acts like a reminder of Arrival, another dim, moody 4K release that’s less about contrast than it is visual tenor. Black levels refuse pure black; Invisible Man aims for deepened gray instead. Highlights recede, softened to match this aesthetic. The look is muddy, even unattractive, yet properly preserved.

Limited noise appears in the imagery. A shot of a doorway around 28-minutes represents the peak, calming down afterward. Behind that, splendid detail as light allows. Facial texture stands out even in darker areas. Aerials in San Francisco nail the skyline sans problems. Medium shots contain sharpness equal to the rest. Pleasing consistency proves the disc’s capability.

Alongside reduced contrast, color follows. If not sticking to a dominate blue or pale orange, flesh tones might escape without harm. Mostly, the palette exists for tonality, shifting scene-to-scene. Deep color helps to make this appealing rather than gaudy. Invisible Man isn’t reference, yet in a way, it is to show how accurate the format can match intent.


Prepare for a system shock when the opening credit’s storminess slams waves across a shoreline. Vivid, rich bass begins a low-end assault, if one driven by the jolting score as opposed to action. Music grinds into the LFE, allowing the tension to be felt as much as seen. Gunshots and punches add power too, escalating a major hospital action scene. Invisible Man keeps range at max.

Leaves brushed by wind, creaking trees near a roadside forest, and other ambient sounds load this Atmos track. Spectacular rain effects highlight a key sequence, flooding the surrounds and heights. The score likewise elevates overhead, along with occasional voices. Things like doors opening and closing split the soundstage to match movement, even when off screen. Mixing favors quiet and mood, yet when needed, flawlessly pairs to the action.


All bonus features share space on the UHD and Blu-rays. Director Leigh Whannell steps in to deliver a solo commentary. He’s featured in Director’s Journey too, a nearly 11-minute mixture of EPK and production diary. Elisabeth Moss discusses her character away from another extra featuring others in the cast doing the same. Nine deleted scenes run past the 13-minute mark. Timeless Terror is skippable EPK fluff.

The Invisible Man
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Arguably bettering even HG Wells’ original story, the new take on The Invisible Man pairs flawlessly to modern times with a focus on the victims.

User Review
4.33 (3 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 44 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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