Fear the Invisible Man (2023)

Fear the Invisible Man (2023)

A thriller whose modest ambitions and overqualified lead performance can't overcome its limited resources

5.8

Movie

United Kingdom
English
Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
2023
PAUL DUDBRIDGE
David Hayman, Delroy Brown, Emily Haigh
100 min

TLDR

Free this woman from this man (and free this talented actress from her talent agency).

What it's about

A widowed heiress becomes caught up in the schemes of a former colleague after his experiments with invisibility turn him violent and unstable.

The take

To be fair to this visibly low-budget adaptation of H. G. Wells' seminal science-fiction novel, it doesn't always settle for the cheap way out. Though it still leaves much to be desired in its visual effects, awkward action scenes, and generally unimaginative direction, Fear the Invisible Man makes a valiant effort to deepen its story by placing a strong, unlikely protagonist at its center (played in all seriousness and with admirable resolve by Mhairi Calvey). Since the titular villain isn't actually the star of the show—nor is he made out to be an ever-present threat, like in the modern 2020 adaptation—this version of The Invisible Man is able to circle relatively newer ideas about a woman's "invisible" place in the world, and how she's tempted to go down a path of pride and violence. If only the rest of the film could keep up with the script's ambition.

What stands out

Lead actress Mhairi Calvey deserves to be in far better projects that can give her greater opportunities to show off what she's capable of. She almost single-handedly keeps Fear the Invisible Man afloat, and gives it an emotional center of gravity through which the villain's insanity actually begins to carry real weight. Calvey is still held back by the film's direction and dialogue, but all things considered, she does an excellent job placing her Adeline somewhere in between fear of this mysterious man returning into her life, and a morbid curiosity of what he's been able to achieve and get away with through his science.

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