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There is a lot riding on the success of The Invisible Man for Director Leigh Whannell. However, perhaps more weighs on the shoulders of the Invisible Man himself as a horror monster who is the first in the latest round of Universal Monsters reboots.

This film needs to be a hit for Universal Studios, Blumhouse, the monster, and the overall Monsters franchise. Judging by the box-office receipts this weekend, it looks to be a hit, at least financially. But is it good?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is… very yes.

Reintroducing the Invisible Man

Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3, Upgrade) directs the simultaneous adaptation and reboot of H. G. Well’s novel and Universal’s The Invisible Man series. Whannel does double duty as well, serving as the writer. The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer.

The Invisible Man has been in development roughly since 2007. In that time it has been attached to Johnny Depp and was considered to be a potential inclusion into a now-defunct shared cinematic universe that fell apart after The Mummy (2017). The project only truly took off when Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions stepped in and it was decided to update these classic monsters as stand-alone projects.

What Works about The Invisible Man?

Elizabeth Moss makes up the majority of the screen time and the film is all the better for it.

The film works incredibly well as a re-imagining of a classic. It is very much in the spirit and tone of the work of H. G. Wells. It utilizes contemporary horror aesthetics and modern technology to craft the Invisible Man into a real threat for today. This is especially true given that the film is dealing with very topical themes of stalking, the abuse of women, and how women are victimized at the hands of powerful men. This film is a feminist work, through and through. A better #MeToo film that last year’s Black Christmas by a large margin.

A lot of the feminist energy of the film comes from the work done by Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass. Moss is one of the best actresses working today, becoming iconic across series like Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale. She is fantastic in the film and very much the reason why an invisible person is so menacing. Her horror, exhaustion, paranoia, and own eventual menace is propulsive. It helps that Cecilia, a survivor of physical and psychological abuse is also incredibly smart as a protagonist. Cecilia, for as much as she goes through, only falls into true despair once and becomes galvanized to seek her revenge after a pivotal scene of an innocent falling under attack.

The plotting is very tight in the film and there were no real shortcuts to position characters to where they needed to be for the film to play out as effectively as it does.

The Predatory Camera

Griffin breathing down Cecilia’s neck.

What makes the movie stand out beyond being a solid reboot is that it does some truly interesting things with this take. What is most impressive, though, is the staging and shots. The camera becomes The Invisible Man in a very real sense at times. It is never quite clear (until the end) quite where the titular Invisible Man is.

The staging just makes it clear he is there and it is chilling. It gets even worse with some of the tracking shots. It makes the viewer complicit in the stalking. It’s unsavory. It’s damn good.

What Didn’t Work?

The Invisible Man made somewhat visible.
Griffin, a cipher, still exudes true menace.

The tight plotting of the film can be a detriment to some of the surprise of more trope-literature viewers. Beats that you expect to happen by the introductions of certain characters, scene arrangements, and one very transparent Chekov’s gun moment may reduce the overall shock of the film. This is, of course, barring a very satisfying moment with a knife that sets up the climax of the film.

Despite the importance of the Invisible Man throughout the film, the character is, to a great degree, a non-presence (queue the laughs). We get very little of Griffin as an individual beyond predatory menace and a rather illuminating scene near the end of the movie.

This is a film that I feel might have benefited from some flashbacks to establish the abusive history between Adrian and Cecilia. The film works wonderfully in subtext and Griffin looms large over everything, both as an invisible body and a psychological specter.

I just feel it would be interesting to dive into his character a bit more. But on the other hand, I do not want to take away a second of screentime from Elisabeth Moss, either.

I’d be very curious about the potential of a director’s cut.

Final Verdict

Blumhouse Productions has managed to tackle one classic 1970s horror icon in Michael Meyers. With The Invisible Man, the sights were set further back and the studio has not missed a beat. If this film is indicative of the Blumhouse approach to future Universal Monsters then fans are in for a real treat.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Please read about some of our other horror reviews here at Haunted MTL and share your thoughts on The Invisible Man in the comments.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”



Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Silenced



Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Mandrake, a Film Review

Mandrake is a 2022 supernatural horror directed by Lynne Davison and written by Matt Harvey, starring Deirdre Mullins and Derbhle Crotty.



Mandrake is a 2022 supernatural horror directed by Lynne Davison and written by Matt Harvey. This film boasts a cast that includes Deirdre Mullins, Derbhle Crotty, and Paul Kennedy. It is currently available for subscribers in DirectTV, Shudder, Amazon Prime, or AMC+.

Cathy Madden (Deirdre Mullins) is a probation officer tasked with the most vilified case in her town, Mary Laidlaw (Derbhle Crotty). When a child goes missing, all eyes turn to the infamous Bloody Mary. Cathy, always believing in the best of people, tries to protect Mary. But evidence begins to mount, and Cathy finds herself in increasing danger.

Derbhle Crotty as Mary Laidlaw
In the forest
Derbhle Crotty as Mary Laidlaw

What I Like

Deirdre Mullins and Derbhle Crotty add weight to the film in their performances. Cathy proves resilient against the challenges she faces, while Mary can make any actions intimidating.
To not spoil anything, the ending is bittersweet in the best of ways, showing Cathy grow and mend relationships.

The atmosphere around Mary Laidlaw brings about the intimidation that earns the nickname Bloody Mary. It becomes easier to see why a town would fear this woman as we find her motives sinister.

Mandrake Cover Art: A mandrake behind Deirdre Mullins' Cathy Madden
Deirdre Mullins as Cathy Madden

What I Dislike

While there may be external magical elements, I found people obeyed Mary Laidlaw a little too easily for a vilified woman. There wasn’t enough for me to be convinced she intimidated them to action or magically charmed them. Or perhaps the performances felt underwhelmingly passive?

There was an irritating moment where a stalker helped save the day. The assistance is minor, but it still irritates me.

The daytime scenes of the film are bland. Perhaps it’s intentional, but the night scenes are stunning, making the contrast greater. While this film focuses on its night scenes, I couldn’t understand why it looked so bland, and sometimes poor quality, in the day.

Kraken eating a boat icon for Zeth M. Martinez
Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Mandrake can be a frightful enjoyment, especially when set at night where the details work. However, many elements left me wanting more or better. If you’re looking for a witchy tale, I’d say there are better options, but Mandrake can keep you entertained.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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