It pains me to see that current events will forever taint this movie in my memory. This film was the last one I saw at the cinema before the coronavirus happened. So this might be the last recent review we post for a while (an update will be up shortly regarding our status in regards to continuing this site). That’s a shame as this movie deserves better, it’s an incredibly solid piece of film-making, albeit frustratingly inconsistent. It does some things brilliantly but then does the same thing badly a few minutes later, almost like it was made by two separate people.
The main areas of this for me: visuals and audio. There were times where the film seemed to think “music played at a volume that causes it to muffle” is tension. When it happens in climactic scenes and the music is built towards, then yes it is effective, but there are times where it seems just annoying. Similar with visuals, there are some brilliantly subtle moments, where we just see a breath cloud in the background. But this is let down by other scenes which take place in a frustrating amount of darkness. I get the appeal of hiding a lot, Alien etc did it well, but that was done differently. This was done where the main characters were in darkness, so all you could see were blurry shadows moving around slowly.
Now onto the good; the performances. Elisabeth Moss is PERFECT here. Her broken nature is obvious for everyone to see. Even when her partner isn’t on the screen you can see the effect he has had on her just through her performance. She anchors this entire film brilliantly; if her performance wasn’t as good as it is then the film would suffer.
The worry with taking a classic story like this is making it appropriate for the modern age. “scientists and a special magic potion” isn’t really a formula (hah, science pun) that works for modern movie audiences. Maybe this is because people have access to the internet so fraudulent science will be found out easily. They updated this in the best way possible; it’s a suit made of cameras. This not only is a perfectly logical way to fix some flaws in the power of invisibility (vision works on reflection so if you’re invisible, you can’t see either), it being cameras fixes this. Plus it causes a great scene where the suit gets damaged and starts to glitch in and out of visibility.
So in summary; if you get a chance you should definitely watch this. It’s brutal when it needs to be, but is incredibly human too. If the Dark Universe started with this instead of The Mummy (or the Dracula one they attempted to start it with) then maybe it wouldn’t have been dead on arrival. It’s slow but it makes the most of the time, and it has a truly chilling ending.