Actress Elisabeth Moss is no stranger to streaming services – her hit dystopian Hulu original television series “A Handmaid’s Tale” (filmed entirely in Toronto) is one of the most popular series of the past five years, but while making the transition from TV-to-movie star,  Moss has run into some unfortunate circumstances.

After making a splash as a supporting character in Jordan Peele’s 2019 horror movie, “Us,” Moss bloomed on the big screen in “The Kitchen” alongside comedians Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish. But “The Kitchen,” a well-written and superbly-acted female lead gangster movie, didn’t resonate with audiences as much as it could have and Moss’ movie career didn’t take off as I’m sure she’d hoped. That is, until now.

In “The Invisible Man,” Moss is superb, and she carries the weight of the entire film without much help from anyone else. Actors Oliver Jackson-Cohen from “The Haunting of Hill House,” Storm Reid from “A Wrinkle In Time” and Aldis Hodge from “Straight Outta Compton” are all talented in their respective supporting roles, but it’s Moss who really captivates. Acting alongside an invisible predator can’t be easy but Moss’ natural abilities as an actress help her take charge of every single scene with the conviction of a true Hollywood star. 

Written and directed by Leigh Wannell, the creative driving force behind the “SAW” franchise (keep an eye out for a Jigsaw Easter egg), “The Invisible Man” was released in theatres on February 28, 2020, earning $29 million in its opening weekend, topping the domestic box office. It’s a remake of a Universal Studios’ classic, the 1933 monster movie of the same name, which was based on the 1897 science-fiction novel by H.G. Wells. This new rendition, however, has been compared to the ’90s thriller “Hollow Man” (starring Kevin Bacon and another Elisabeth with an “S” – Elisabeth Shue) due to lacklustre and somewhat misleading promotion. Are their similarities between the films, sure, but “The Invisible Man” and “Hollow Man” are two peas in different pods. 

Watching the trailer versus watching the actual film, it’s clear “The Invisible Man” is less of a mindless horror movie and more of a contemporary thriller reflecting the physical and psychological perils of domestic abuse. It’s not just a thrill ride, it’s a tale of survival, and Moss’ character Cecilia Kass is so bone-chillingly stalked, the film’s message becomes a clear and important lesson for both women and men everywhere.

Now, with movie theatres across the globe having closed their doors to the public due to growing Covid-19 coronavirus concerns, the future of this film (and cinema in general) is in jeopardy. Millions of people are in self-isolation and quarantine so streaming services and VOD [Video On Demand] rentals/purchases are at an all-time high. Everyone and their mothers are streaming right now, so Universal Studios chose to offer their newest films (otherwise still in theatres) for rent on VOD for $19.99 to balance the monetary losses they’re currently experiencing.

Universal’s “The Invisible Man” is one of those films, along with “The Hunt,” “Emma,” and Disney’s “Onward.” All four films have all been made available on VOD and broke into the top 10 on every streaming service they’re available on. FandangoNow reported having its “biggest weekend ever” as Cameron Douglas, the head of the service, said in a statement: “Our top sellers consisted of movies right out of the theatres, as well as other digital releases not yet available on subscription services. We expect to see another big week ahead with at least six new releases arriving on our service this week.”

Other more recent releases include “Birds of Prey,” “Bloodshot,” “Dolittle,” “The Gentlemen” and “The Way Back” with “I Still Believe,” “Bad Boys For Life,” “Trolls World Tour,” “Sonic the Hedgehog “and “Fantasy Island” coming soon. With every upcoming major motion picture postponing their theatrical debuts (“Mulan” and “Black Widow” are postponed without new release dates, “Wonder Woman 1984” is postponed until August and “No Time To Die” is postponed until November), will any of these films be released on VOD instead of cinemas? The odds are slim as worldwide ticket sales generate the most profit for production studios, but when rentals are $19.99 (almost the same amount as a movie ticket), will the movie-going experience ever truly make a comeback? Only time will tell…

In the meantime, “The Invisible Man” is well worth a watch! Grab a snack, turn out the lights and buckle up! I will say I felt as if something was missing from the main plotline; if I were to compare it to a meal, I think I’d want more meat with my potatoes, and you will either love or hate the ending, but believe me when I say that this film is genuinely frightening with unexpected twists and turns you (fittingly) won’t see coming.

“What you can’t see can hurt you!”

4 Popcorn Kernals / 5

About the Author

Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.