The Invisible Man: Movie Review, Why It Works

Does The Invisible Man live up to the hype? Well seeing is believing (and although you can’t see the antagonist of this film), The Invisible Man breathes life into this once thought dead style of horror with compelling characters and suspense that will leave you on the edge of your seat and begging to see more! 

WARNING: IF YOU WANT TO GO INTO THIS FILM WITH ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA OF WHAT IS HAPPENING READ CAREFULLY. THERE WILL BE A SPOILER WARNING WHEN MAJOR PLOT POINTS ARE DISCUSSED BUT IF YOU WANT NOTHING ABOUT THIS FILM TALKED ABOUT, COME BACK AFTER YOU WATCH THE MOVIE.

If you are still here, I commend you for your bravery. Let’s get into The Invisible Man.

Overview

The Invisible Man was released on February 28, 2020. It stars Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, a troubled woman who escapes an abusive relationship from Adrian Griffin, this manipulative scientific inventor played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Once she escapes, Cecilia is so terrified of being found by Adrian that she can’t even walk outside. This all changes when she finds out that Adrian has passed away and can’t hurt her anymore. She is able to start living her life without the constant fear of being watched… or so she thinks.

What this film does so well is that it plays with the audience’s perception of what’s happening to Cecilia. The first forty minutes of the film are a slow burn of odd happenings that take place in the house. From the stove turning on with no one near, to a knife falling off the table without a sound. As you watch this film you think at any moment this invisible entity could kill Cecilia. But the film makes it clear that it is not their goal to kill her. It’s to torment her.

Someone is torturing Cecilia throughout the story and the film uses that to make you feel just as paranoid. No one is willing to believe what is happening with Cecilia which infuriates you because you know she’s not crazy. You are rooting for her to prove that there is someone there, but the film makes you question maybe Cecilia is imagining this all. Then the film takes a hard left and makes it very clear to the audience and Cecilia that her suspicions were right.

What Makes It Work

The elements that make this horror/thriller movie work more than the atrocious The Mummy (2017) and Dracula Untold (2014), is that it does not try to be more than it is. Tom Cruise’s The Mummy wanted so badly to be the next big cinematic universe that would rival Marvel. But that was the film’s goal. Not to scare us, or to tell a unique story. It was to make money and be the next big thing. The Invisible Man is doing what I’m sure most modern horror films wanted to be, truly scary.

This film knows it’s a thriller that has a classic monster attached to it, so it tells a modernized version of what would make that idea so terrifying. A controlling and abusive partner that no one can see. If that isn’t symbolism, I don’t know what is.

If you are looking for a truly entertaining film that makes you question everything that you are watching on screen, go see this unseeable monster movie!

Image result for Invisible man

~If you watched the film and would like to see what I felt worked well and what didn’t, or you simply don’t care about spoilers, feel free to read below~

*SPOILER WARNING*

With a film called The Invisible Man, you know there is going to be some way the film explains how a person can be invisible. Magic? Invisible Spray? John Cena? Nope. This universe’s answer to how to make a man invisible is shown in the first scene in the background. A suit comprised of cameras that can cloak itself into its surroundings and be invisible to the unseen eye. Sure this is still a stretch. But it is the most believable reason to have a man be invisible in this modern revamp.

What Worked

I thought the premise of having Adrian be so determined to make Cecilia think he willing to fake his own death sickening. It made him more terrifying than any paranormal beings that have been put to screen over the last five years. Cecilia is also not an idiot and thinks her plans through which makes the movie so much better. She is so clever that at certain points in the film you have no idea what she is going to do!

What Did Not Work

At a certain point in the film, the invisible suit gets damaged and is shown that it is broken and can not become fully invisible anymore. But in the very next scene the suit is in perfect condition again. The invisible suit is covered in so much plot armor it is unstoppable, unless the film wants the suit to brake. It just made the final conflict a little inconsistent with what was established in other shots.

Hopefully, these mild spoilers were not enough to ruin the film for those of you who were daring enough to read this section before watching the film. Thank you for reading and I hope you come back for my next review, take care!

Written by: Danan Pacheco

Rambo: Last Blood – Illumination of PTSD

Rambo: Last Blood is a film with an identity crisis that aims to highlight the struggle veterans face when dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you go into the newest Rambo film expecting the action-packed scenes of the 2008 release, you will be disappointed. This movie does not have the exuberant gunplay and the mythical Stallone that we have come to expect. John Rambo clearly shows the signs of wear and his age is at the forefront. The director chose many closeups which admittedly come off a bit silly more often than not. The Rambo presented appears to be in a settled state and is looking to lead a comfortable life. He trains horses if you can believe that and even forges his own blades. These tasks appear to be a coping mechanism for his PTSD.

Taken from Lionsgate Youtube

Prevalence of PTSD in Rambo

PTSD is not something new to the Rambo films. The disorder has been front and center from the very inception of the series. Rambo in First Blood is a Vietnam War veteran and prisoner of war who returns to the United States. In the U.S. he faces harassment from the police force who, on default, considers him an untrustworthy vagrant. The physical abuse (he is hosed down while detained by the police) triggers a fight or flight response and he chooses fight.

Rambo attempts to cope with his PTSD through medication. Without revealing any spoilers, the new film also pits Rambo in a situation that prompts his exit from a semi-comfortable life. He, in one of the many zoom-ins, tosses down his medication and a majority of the action in the film follows this tipping point. This frustration mirrors much of the sentiment veterans still exhibit today.

PTSD Today

Like Rambo in the first film, veterans today continue to return from war not knowing how to adjust and cope with civilian life. The government also often falls short in offering resources to aid in the acclimation process. The fact that 16 veterans take their lives daily, and more than 50 veterans suffering from PTSD and seeking treatment from the Veterans Health Administration committed suicide in 2017 are testaments to the drastic need to improve a failing system.

Taken from Lionsgate Youtube

Though this new installment to the Rambo franchise attempted to merge the internal struggle faced by soldiers found in the first movie with the action and explosions of the most recent movie, the result was lacking in both departments and leaves people wishing that direction went all-in on at least one.

A Wildly Inaccurate Summary of Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

The final film in Marvel’s Avengers series was highly anticipated and beloved by many – but not everyone in the theater felt this way.

In my almost 25 years on this planet (yikes), I have seen a total of two superhero movies. The first was Spider-Man (2002), which I remember seeing in the movie theater in my hometown at the age of 7. The second was Deadpool in 2016, also at that same theater with yellow shag carpet on the walls and a crystal chandelier in the “big theater” (the place only has two screens, which we would refer to as the “big theater” or the “small theater”). So as you might expect, I was counting down the days until Avengers: Endgame hit theaters where I would see it on opening night.

Just kidding. I didn’t even know this movie existed until April 24th, when it was discussed on KCR’s own Brett & Mackee in the Morning. But you already knew that, because you undoubtedly listen to San Diego’s Best Morning Radio Show, as voted by the San Diego Union Tribune’s 2018 Reader’s Poll, every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. As explained above, I’ve never seen any of the other Avengers movies. In fact, I’m not even sure how many there are. I’m going to go ahead and guess that there are twelve movies in the series. (Editor’s note: Andrea, how the heck are you so behind?)

When a fellow KCR member asked me, over Plant Power Fast Food, if I wanted to go to the 1:45 AM 3D showing of Avengers: Endgame that night, I agreed. Maybe it was just the vegan chicken nuggets altering my perception, but this sounded like a great idea to me. A three hour movie, a three hour SUPERHERO movie, at nearly 2 AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning. In the end, we decided on the 11:45 PM showing at AMC Fashion Valley. One sour beer and two hard kombuchas later, and we found ourselves in butter-soaked seats with plastic 3D glasses on our faces. “So it won’t be blurry,” the ticket-taker had informed us.

So here you go: my critical, sleep-deprived review of Avengers: Endgame. This is all surely inaccurate and likely offensive to fans of the series. I’m sorry. “I love you three thousand”.

A “Summary” of the Film

Avengers: Endgame opens with a scene of a family enjoying a nice lakeside picnic and some archery. I’ve already forgotten which character was the dad in this scene. Eventually the dad looks around and his family has disappeared. I think that if I had seen the other eleven Avengers movies I might have understood why this was happening. Instead, I figured aliens were involved somehow. As in, the antagonists in the other Avengers movies were aliens. (Editors note: At least you got that mostly right.)

So then I was introduced to the titular Avengers, I think. To me, the Avengers are Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo/The Hulk, Miley Cyrus’s husband’s brother, Chris Evans, a raccoon, Paul Rudd, and Brett Michel’s father Robert Downey Jr. If I’m being honest, it seems like Robert Downey Jr. carried the team in this movie, particularly by figuring out how to time travel. RDJ is a family man, though, and at first doesn’t want to get involved with this alien-fighting business. However, he relents and agrees to go to space with them despite having a young daughter. I bet you can guess what’s going to happen to his character at the end of the movie.

Why was time travel necessary for the Avengers? I’m not really sure. Paul Rudd spent five years of his life in another dimension, or something, while people in the real world kept living their lives. So I guess the Avengers needed to travel back in time to save Paul Rudd from this other dimension. In order to save Paul Rudd, the Avengers had to retrieve some magic stones from the past.

The Avengers split off into teams and travel into the past to retrieve the magic stones. Paul Rudd becomes tiny, there are two Captain Americas that fight each other (?), Tilda Swinton is on a rooftop. Obviously, this quest for the magic stones was the crux of the whole movie, so I apologize for reducing it to a two-sentence summary.

There’s a scene where RDJ and Chris Evans go back in time to a very All-American looking army base, and RDJ talks to a man who’s expecting a child with his wife. RDJ is very emotional when talking to this man, and hugs him goodbye despite having only just met him. I deduced that this man was actually RDJ’s father and his unborn child would grow up to be none other than Robert Downey Jr. Wikipedia tells me that my conclusion was correct. This, my friends, is what I like to call critical thinking and inference. Yes, I have taken a first-year TFM class.

Okay, what else? Scarlett Johannson dies. Another guy was maybe going to die but Scarlett sacrifices herself instead. I can’t even remember why she had to die – midway through the movie my eyes were definitely starting to close. There was a scary Grim Reaper-looking thing that gave these two a message. The robot woman was a double agent and helped the Big Evil Guy (not an alien) try to take over the world. Some other things happened.

Then there was a big battle scene! “Avengers, assemble!” That’s a direct quote from the film. A lot of other Marvel characters returned for the battle and everyone else in the theater made sounds of excitement and recognition as the camera panned over these characters. I nodded along as if I too understood the significance of this scene.

So the battle seems to be going okay and no one of importance has died yet (except Scarlett Johansson). Baby Spider-Man retrieves the Magic Glove and everything is looking great, but then Big Evil Guy gets the Magic Glove. RDJ confronts him about it (really carrying the team again) and Big Evil Guy tries to flex that he has the Magic Glove. Lo and behold, the Magic Glove is missing its magic stones, rendering it useless! Turns out, RDJ took the magic stones and now has his OWN Magic Glove. He then proclaims that he is Iron Man. This was a big reveal for me. Then he activates the stones or whatever and the bad guys turn to dust.  

All of this was so overwhelming for me that I didn’t realize RDJ was dying. I’m not sure why he had to die, but I think it’s because he was a family man making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of the world and this is a movie. Sniffles could be heard throughout the theater as, presumably, we said goodbye to a beloved character. There was a funeral scene, and then some more time travel. Everyone was very solemn, and Samuel L. Jackson was there. Fin.

The Verdict

You’re probably thinking I hated this movie, or was bored to death by it. Surprisingly, I actually had a pretty enjoyable experience. For a three hour movie where I really didn’t understand much of what was happening, I felt engaged with it for almost the entire duration. I was shocked by how quickly those three hours passed. I will admit that it’s a bit of a struggle to follow a movie like this when it’s after midnight and there’s no recap of the previous eleven movies beforehand. So I guess the question is, would I recommend seeing Avengers: Endgame without seeing the other Avengers movies first? No, absolutely not. But if you find yourself in the same situation as me, please do not use my summary of the film as a way to prepare.

Written By: Andrea Renney

Us: Analysis, Themes, and Theories

Us is a pretty great sci-fi/horror film that’s worthy of the recent buzz.

Us is directed and written by Jordan Peele who wrote and directed 2017’s Get Out and stars Lupita N’yongo, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. It tells the story of a family that goes on vacation to Santa Cruz, only to have their vacation cut short when they find a strange doppelganger family in their backyard, attempting to terrorize them and murder them. The film then turns into a story of survival as the family must escape Santa Cruz alive, while also stopping the doppelganger family from following them. I chose not to do a regular review for this one. My short recommendation for this movie is that you should at least see it at some point if you are interested. I think this film is super weird, fun, and suspenseful and it’s a great time at the movies. I will say, however, that I after I had the chance to view this film again, there were many issues I found throughout this film that seemed to negatively affect my experience the second time watching it. It wasn’t any issues with the film making really, I just found some plot holes and other inconsistencies with the film that didn’t make sense for me. In order to really discuss this film in full detail, I need to do an analysis instead. Not only because I wanted to talk about the themes of what this film has to offer, which does intrigue me, but also because I want to talk about the elements of this film that frustrated me and caused me to not enjoy it nearly as much the second time around.

SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WANT THE FILM SPOILED FOR YOU!

The film starts off as we see Lupita N’yongo’s character, Adelaide, as a young child at a fair at Santa Cruz in 1986. She is with her mother and father, and the father seems to be drunk and playing many carnival games. This clearly frustrates the mother as he is paying little to no attention to the daughter. But when the mother leaves to go to the bathroom and the father plays another carnival game, neglecting to keep an eye on his daughter, she wanders off to the beach below where she finds a hall of mirrors in which she comes across a version of herself who seemingly “traumatizes” her leaving her unable to speak. Years later, she’s grown up, had a family, and they suggest that they take a vacation to Santa Cruz every summer. In the film, we see she is nervous the entire time while there because she seems to remember an incident that scarred her for life at the beach. The film then cuts as the family is outside trying to get in so they can murder them. The version of Adelaide, Red, that seemed to traumatize her is now in front of her face again as she had predicted would happen.

Luckily, the family is able to escape their home, but when they try to go to their friends’ house for help, a family with a father played by Tim Heidecker and a mother played by Elizabeth Moss, they find that the doppelganger of their family has already murdered them, which leads them to more danger. They are able to escape but are stopped when Red captures Jason, their son, and takes him into the underground where they all reside. It is at this moment that we find out that Red explains that there is a whole society of people like her down below who mimic their actions from up above, but never get to go up there. In retaliation, she plans on killing everyone and starting their own society above ground. They also re-create the Hands Across America protest from the 1980’s to symbolize their new dominance over the country. If you don’t know, the Hands Across America event was one in which people all across the country joined hands with each other to make one big line across the entire country from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to support the end of hunger in Africa. After Adelaide and Red fight each other, with Adelaide stabbing Red winning the fight, she leaves the underground with her son. We then see a flashback in which it turns out at the beach the day young Adelaide came across her young look a like self at the hall of mirrors, the doppelganger chokes Adelaide, damaging her vocal chords and forcing her underground. In other words, the Adelaide we have been following the whole time is actually the former doppelganger from below all along.

I love this film as it’s a fun, suspenseful horror flick with some great themes and satire.

This is a film that has so much strange elements to it that I cannot help but love and further recommend you check out. I’m really happy that we are able to get original ideas like this still out in theaters, and I’m glad that many people are actually coming out to support these flicks. I love the creativity that this film has to offer and I love that this film can create a concept and a universe that feels like it would be potentially terrifying to inhabit. I would personally be horrified if I found a doppelganger version of myself was trying to murder me. Since it is assumed they are a version of me, they think like me. Because of this, they know what traps I’ll fall for, what scares me, and what especially hurts me. A doppelganger of myself would truly f— me up! It’s a very strange yet brilliant concept that I’m surprised no other filmmaker has ever been able to put up on screen until this point, but I’m glad that this exists now. If you were to analyze its themes that is is clearly going for, it seems to be an allegory for class society and the way we treat and see others because of it. It can also be seen as an allegory for guilt and regret as Adelaide regrets having done what she did to her other self. If you need another interpretation, this could also be seen as an allegory for race relations in the US. Perhaps the people above are the elite race and the ones below are the minorities. This would make sense as Jordan Peele’s last film Get Out dealt with race relations and mocked individuals who would claim to fight for social justice rights for African Americans and Black Americans, but actually end up exploiting them for their victim-hood instead. Jordan Peele does a really great job with creating these horror stories with really great satire implemented into it.

I do have to admit that upon a second viewing, I found many inconsistencies within this movie, which is unfortunate.

There’s a ton of plot holes that come up when you decide to watch this movie again. It’s unfortunate to me to see these because there are instances that I know I shouldn’t be thinking about or acknowledging, but I just can’t help but ask these questions when I see these moments. There’s only going to be a few highlight ones that I acknowledged when watching this movie, but I know for a fact there’s plenty more if you want to examine the film even further. The first question I have with this movie comes at the beginning when Adelaide is nervous about being in Santa Cruz and going to the beach. This is apparently a vacation that they go on every year, as hinted several times throughout the film, so my question is did Adelaide ever get this way in previous years going on this trip? If that’s the case why do they keep coming back. They never acknowledge that she might have gotten this way in year’s past, it’s just a new thing that they realized now. And okay, even if she doesn’t get nervous while at Santa Cruz, do any of them know that she had a traumatic experience at Santa Cruz when she was younger? She doesn’t have to explain it in full detail, but did she ever suggest that she went through a troubling event growing up? And I know a potential defense for that is “she just gets that way when she hears they’re going to the beach” which is fine, but what else do they do there then? I know this seems really nitpicky, but I can’t help but think that they would stop taking this trip by now if it made her as upset as it clearly seems to in this instance. I don’t know, I feel like she would have eventually brought it up at some point that she went through such an experience.

My next questions involve the underground itself. What they suggest is that for every action that takes place above ground, there is a duplicate action taking place underground. Now there’s many actions that the characters below are seen doing that are identical to the ones up above. For example, some will be riding a roller coaster, others will be playing a carnival game, and others will be walking around the carnival. The people riding the roller coaster aren’t moving locations, they are only moving in their seats like it’s a simulator ride at Universal Studios (roasted). This would perhaps make sense because they end up in the same location as before. But what if someone up above is driving a car. They don’t end up in the same location like a roller coaster would. What about if someone up above goes in a direction and the person below is blocked by a wall? Do they go around the wall and catch up with the people above later? Now what about if someone decides to go swimming in an ocean, lake, or river? Are there tunnels below for at least a potential several miles away from the shores of these bodies of water? What about travelling internationally? They suggested that the tunnels are only in the United States, but if someone travels to Europe or Asia, do the doppelgangers still follow them across the seas? How would they get there at the same amount of time as the people above? If the people above take a 12 hour flight to China, perhaps, would the doppelganger follow the person all the way to China. A person cannot physically travel over 600 miles/hour across oceans without vehicular assistance such as an airplane. And if they did find a way to travel 600 miles/hour across oceans underground, those tunnels that lead to areas beyond the United States must be really deep below the ocean. That could almost be potentially tens of thousands of feet below water. This given that the tunnels themselves are already likely around 100-250 ft. below the surface already. Explorers haven’t even been to the lowest depths of many of these oceans. The truth is we have no idea what’s going on down there. Did someone build those tunnels then that are over 35,000-40,000 feet below the ocean? And finally, when Adelaide goes to confront Red and Red explains to her the world that exists underground, it makes sense from a narrative stand point as we as the audience do not understand what is going on, but given the end of the film, Adelaide already knows how this universe works. She’s lived there for much of her childhood, she probably remembers it pretty well.

Honestly I could go on all day listing off the various things that don’t make sense about this universe. I will defend Peele, however, in that he probably did not have much time to explain this universe or set up the rules of it properly. If they ever choose to do a follow up to this movie (which seems unlikely) they would certainly answer these questions. This could potentially lead to really fun discussions and debates to have with your friends. Even though these plot holes slightly take me out of the movie, I do look forward to showing this movie to friends maybe who haven’t seen it or to watching it again with friends who are already fans of it like I am. And I think that is what makes this movie special. For all its plot holes, this movie seems to understand how to keep the audience engaged and entertained. It’s weird and different and definitely a very different film from Get Out. I wouldn’t say it’s so much scary as it is suspenseful. It is creepy, from the perspective of the children, to see your dad being dragged out of your house by a man that looks exactly like him, and it’s also creepy thinking about coming across your own killer doppelganger. Again, they know how you think, and they know how to instill the most painful and horrific death upon you. Overall, this is a really fun movie to converse with your friends about. I think it now makes sense why I wanted to get into spoilers with this one. I don’t know. I will probably keep doing more of these spoiler filled reviews as I tend to find they are much more fun then the traditional non spoiler review. I did a very similar thing with the film Climax and that was a ton of fun, so we’ll see. Expect that with Avengers: Endgame I’ll do the same style of review so I can just get into every little nook and cranny with that one.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo