Godzilla Vs Kong (2021)

As far as let downs go, GODZILLA VS KONG isn’t so bad. It delivers some true eye-popping spectacle or maybe I’m just the easiest mark when it comes to buildings being destroyed and flashy neon colors. I wonder if it’s possible I might have enjoyed it more if I was able to see it in my beloved (but now dead-by-Covid) local movie theater? Maybe. On the other hand, I didn’t mind watching in sweats with a fridge full of beer either. Ah, why blame the victim (me) though? The sad truth is that this is a movie that does a great job with monsters destroying things and a terrible job creating anything remotely human. I’m a big disaster movie fan so I’m not asking for much as far as characterization goes. I just need a few quick but juicy brush strokes. I’m not looking for more backstory, more info or more time spent with the characters; I just need them not to be dried out charmless husks. I’m curious if anyone can confirm if director Andrew Wingard appeared younger after filming because it truly appears that he sucked the life energy from his cast.

We all want to see the monsters fight its true. We all know going in that we’re going to have to endure a bunch of scenes with people looking at maps and computers speaking gobley-goop. It’s an agreement we all sign up for. Usually in a well done film the downtime works to create anticipation for the promised eye-candy and may even accentuate the eventual cathartic release random destruction brings. But GVK seems to take it a couple dozen painful steps further and the non-action scenes play like dead air and white noise. I’d say every other movie in this monster –verse series (GODZILLA, KONG: SKULL ISLAND, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS) dealt with pretty much the same format but were still able to install a sense of wonder and a variety of good and bad human-types to get behind or root against. I’m not sure how nothing remotely like that happens here. To render Rebecca Hall uninteresting, Alexander Starsgard uncharismatic and Millie Bobbie Brown a dead weight is really some sort of unholy cinematic alchemy.

This is a flick that introduces something called the “hollow earth” a stupid concept that a Saturday morning cartoon would be embarrassed to try to sell and yet it’s sadly appropriate for such an empty vessel. GODZILLA VS KONG is beautiful, mighty beautiful. There are some incredible visuals that brilliantly call back Bava’s PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES but I’d almost rather check them out in a special effects reel. Again, I don’t think I’m asking for much just to have the bare minimum of believable story and at least remotely relatable characters. Heck, I don’t even think my pal Godzilla came across very well, somehow he even seemed like he was there to pick up a paycheck and split and he’s (to the best of my knowledge) pure CGI; how does one suck the energy out of something that isn’t even alive? Oh well, I loved the fight against the backdrop of neon buildings in Hong Kong, In fact, I’d say its worth the price of admission alone, I guess. Plus there’s a pretty nifty surprise special guest star monster I was Mecha-delighted to see. Maybe next time add a puppy in peril though and give me something to wring my hands about.

The Empty Man (2020

Wait a minute; something weird is going on here. I’m very much familiar with renting a movie hoping it will be great only for it to be clearly NOT great but it’s very rare that I rent a movie hoping it will be dopey and it ends up being pretty damn awesome. Turns out, THE EMPTY MAN is far from the empty-headed, millionth, teens vs. creepy pasta demon its (should-have-been-changed) title suggests. This movie is a chilling and intelligent mind-screw with too many layers to count in one sitting and a delightfully maddening aftertaste. It shouldn’t be clumped in with the BYE BYE and SLENDER men of the world; it’s more in line with brain-twisters like JACOB’s LADDER and neo-noir journeys to hell like ANGEL HEART (BLADE RUNNER, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and A CURE FOR WELLNESS also popped into my head). Mostly though, this is epic cosmic horror that can’t be easily explained or contained. It’s crazy good or at least, totally my bag. Thank God I had rented every other movie at Redbox and finally gave it a chance.

After an extended unsettling prologue that eradicates any question of the film’s quality, we meet grieving former detective James Lasombra (a convincingly pestered James Badge Dale) who has been asked by a friend to find her missing daughter. What briefly starts out as a possible supernatural investigation reminiscent of THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (that’s a compliment) miraculously and consistently expands to involve cults, conspiracies, occult rituals, Tulpa theories, nightmarish hallucinations and an incredibly impressive amount of mythology and world building. I’m going to say I won’t say more so as to not ruin things but the truth of the matter is that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I don’t feel bad though, THE EMPTY MAN is built in such a way as to almost demand multiple viewings and interpretations. There’s so much going on its like watching five movies at once.

THE EMPTY MAN is based on a graphic novel by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey that I’m not familiar with so I can’t say how loyal this adaption is but I’m curious to find out (note to self: put it on hold from library). I can tell you though that director, writer, editor David Prior astounds with his attention to detail and he’s rather a maestro at creating lingering visuals and a sense of paranoid dread (his resume is packed with work directing DVD extras for David Fincher films and that puzzle piece fits snugly). As implied above, I’m definitely going to have to revisit this monster of a movie to decipher its possibly infinite assertions but suffice to say this is satisfying cinema that makes you feel as if you’ve just finished a great meal or book. As much as I enjoyed it, I can’t shake the feeling I’m only viewing the tip of the vexing, hypnotic, colossal iceberg.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Yikes, I feel like I haven’t written in a long time and am getting very close to the “and he never did again” zone so here I am forcing myself. Let’s talk about THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW because I love that movie and that should take the edge off. I mean, this flick offers two of my favorite things (wolves and snow) right in the title! How often does that happen? And it delivers so much more; it’s genuinely funny, legit scary, surprisingly soulful and it’s finely crafted all around (the cinematography and score are exquisite). It’s perfectly cast with memorable characters and it just happens to be the last film to feature the great Robert Forster (to whom it is dedicated). It can stand on its hind legs right up there with the best werewolf films of all time.

Jim Cummings stars as John Marshall, a small town cop dealing with multiple savage (and old school gory) murders while also juggling AA meetings, a snippy daughter and a father who may be more ill than he is letting on. The guy is literally splitting at the seams under the pressure and it’s both highly comical and painfully relatable. Cummings is fantastic in the role and he has the type of intense, manic energy that reminded me of horror legend Jeffrey Combs. Here’s the thing that blew my mind though- that I didn’t figure out until the closing credits: Jim Cummings not only stars in TWOSH, he also wrote and directed it (!!!) This blows my mind because I can’t think of many talents that could do all three and the ones I can think of don’t do werewolves and can’t crack me up heartily multiple times throughout a film. Color me impressed.

SNOW HOLLOW miraculously has got me putting it in the same camp as my lifelong faves AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON & THE HOWLING (not an easy accomplishment by any stretch). The effects are top notch and as humorous as it is, it also has a haunting quality as it takes the time to humanize its multiple victims. Actually, there’s an abundance of humanity on display here; the way Cummings juxtaposes lycanthropy with the pitfalls of alcoholism is brilliant. Riki Lindhome (who was also great in the LAST HOUSE remake) brings much quiet power to her patient detective sidekick role and Jimmy Tatro delivers a crazy amount of depth with a handful of scenes. Robert Forester is Robert Forster and he rules. It’s fantastic, well-earned kismet that he should close out his career with such a respectable role in a genre film. Talking about this movie just makes me want to see it again and I’m looking forward to many revisits in the future. Track down THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW as fast as you can; don’t let it get away.

Relic (2020)

Well, I cannot question whether RELIC is an effective horror film on account of the fact that the damn thing went and gave me nightmares. I’m not talking about the fun kind of nightmare where you get chased around an old house by a fuzzy monster; I’m talking about the shitty kind of nightmare where your body starts falling apart and you can physically tell that you are dying and are experiencing your very last moment of consciousness. Why you gotta do me like that RELIC– especially in the same year that I was psychologically bullied by THE LODGE?

Now, I know there are a lot more than two types of horror films but currently I can readily divide them into two distinct camps. There are fun horror movies filled with giddy, squirmy amusing entertainment and then there are non-fun horror movies that torture you by making you question your sanity while screaming in your ear that you are currently dying and will inescapably be dead one day. In normal times, I dig both but these days I can respect the latter but I can’t escape feeling trampled and abused.

Director Natalie Erika James feature debut RELIC is an accomplished, beautifully crafted film but stand warned, zero fun is to be had here! You need to have a taste for the flavor of hopeless existential dread. Emily Mortimer is Kay who along with her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) return to a hoard-y family homestead to check on her increasingly forgetful ma Edna (Robyn Nevin) who disappears for days and leaves tell-tale post-it notes everywhere. What could be a profound family get-together between three generations of women turns into a nosedive into psychological hell complete with haunting apparitions, relentlessly expanding black mold, impossible labyrinths and loads of old-age body horror.

RELIC is all about that deliberate, slow-burn pace that’s all kinds of fashionable these days but considering the subject matter, I don’t think any other approach would be appropriate. All three women are stellar in their roles and each gets to reveal layers not originally apparent. For me, RELIC’s strongest source of power is in its visuals some of which I’ll be trying to shake for the next couple of days at least (unclear figures in dilapidated windows always seem to get under my skin for reasons I don’t know). This flick is ultimately an endlessly fascinating psychological thriller that turns the everyday horrors of aging and mental decline into sheer concentrated apprehension. Suffice to say, I chanted many a “nope, nope, nope” when the more ambiguous horrors solidified into the undeniable. RELIC is a stunner but make sure you save it for a day when you can mentally afford peeking into the abyss.

WAIT it’s worse. Immediately after writing this review (a couple months ago) everything I own seemed to break and fall apart one by one. I also noticed my eyesight dwindling, my hair falling out and my hands turning into scaly claws that itch all day. My computer was down for the count, my Playsatation2 gasped its last breath and a vinyl record melted in my grasp as I tried to clean it. Somehow worse than losing everything was the growing knowledge that everything I have accumulated over the years, everything I spent (too many) hours creating was undeniably worthless (also: the floor is caving in, all my favorite restaurants are closed, my beloved neighborhood movie theater is being demolished and I can feel the woeful silent suffering of every stray cat in chilly Philly).

My cat died. We adopted a feral kitten who hates me. Have you ever had this thing where something bad happens to you and then a bucket is sent down to the deepest, darkest pit of your soul to retrieve every single other horrible thing that ever happened in your lifetime and it dredges the slime up out of the well and pours it all over the top of your head? That happened. I couldn’t even cook anything without it turning to rot and setting off the smoke alarm. This dumb movie spurred (another) curse upon me and only now looking back do I realize how awful and all-consuming it was. Time itself sped up and I was on a conveyor belt toward death with only my poor mother ahead of me (sounds insane and yet exactly what RELIC kept hammering into my marshmallow skull ).

But it’s OK now (nervous chuckle)! The computer is fixed, I bought a new (used) Playstation 2 and the new cat has at least begun to take naps with me. Come to think of it, every year at the end of winter I sort of turn into Jack Torrance in THE SHINING for a spell. This year was just so much worse thanks to the nightmare that is COVID. I’m just not great at pretending everything is normal when it’s clearly not. I don’t know about you, but the tidal wave of death that surrounds us now freaks me the hell out & I’m just going to admit it. In closing, maybe stay clear of downer RELIC. Instead, I recommend to our dear readers, THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW, LOVE AND MONSTERS and SPONTANEOUS; those fine films at least didn’t conspire with a pandemic to steal years off of my life. I appreciate that.

Divine Providence: A Very Brief Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft and the Films Inspired by His Oeuvre:: By Ghastly1

I feel like being topical so I want to talk about H.P. Lovecraft, seeing as how his name every now and again is resurrected in the public consciousness and now is one such time, thanks to a stupid tv show- I’m looking at you Lovecraft Country. I am a confirmed Lovecraftophile. Not so much in the sense that I like his stories all that much; I’ve read his collected works and my estimation of them is that they are okay, with Cool Air being my favorite. But that is neither here nor there. No, instead what I mean to say is that I am more a fan of the man himself more so than his stories and for all the reasons he is reviled today. I have read a few biographies of ‘ol Howard Phillips, including the aptly named H.P. Lovecraft: A Biography by L. Sprague DeCamp, H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life by Michel Houellebecq and the fantastic and authoritative I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi and found myself practically reading about myself. But being that this is a film website, I won’t bore you with book reports and irrelevant autobiographical information. There have been quite a few Lovecraft films made over the years, most of which are dreadful. However, Lovecraftian themes have been a huge influence on horror with Ridley Scott’s Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing being two of the better and more famous examples. Then there are Re-Animator and From Beyond which are enjoyable films in their own right but have little to nothing to do with the original source material. What I’d like to do is briefly highlight a few of the better but lesser-known films either more or less directly adapted from his works or which draw inspiration from them.

The Resurrected (1991) Probably the most faithful adaptation of a Lovecraft story made thus far. Dan O’Bannon followed up Return of the Living Dead with this adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Chris Sarandon plays Charles Dexter Ward a chemical engineer, whom after digging up some long buried familial secrets involving an ancestor engaged in necromancy and alchemy, begins to exhibit strange behavior indicating said ancestor may be making a surprise comeback. 

Messiah of Evil (1973) Lovecraftian overtones abound in this one. From death cults in seaside towns worshipping anti-human gods to racial and cultural degeneration to forbidden knowledge about the underlying madness at the core of reality shattering the thin veneer of normality and stability we laughingly refer to as sanity, leading to mental collapse and subsequent institutionalization. This is an ominous and oneiric surreal gem of a film heavy on atmosphere that features some genuinely unsettling sequences which will stay with you.

Night Tide (1961)​In a somewhat similar vein as Messiah of Evil, Lovecraftian influence of the Shadow over Innsmouth variety can be detected in Night Tide, though not quite so overtly. In this fantastic little film, Dennis Hopper plays a sailor lately arrived in a degenerate seaside​ town who falls in love with a woman who may or may not be a fish creature. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will.  

Becky (2020)

Death. Death really sucks and I’m not the best when it comes to dealing with it. Sure, I’m an old pro when it comes to the sadness, depression and general hopelessness involved; it’s the unfathomable anger that arises that I find unwieldy. A little over a month ago, we lost our beloved cat daughter Rory and let me tell ya, if there was a button that could destroy the whole world, I would have pounded on it. And boy did I hate whatever the hell it is that we call God. What kind of idiot assigns cats a lifespan less than twenty years and then tells turtles they can kick around for over a hundred? That’s just incompetent design work in my book.

Anyway, because I feel a great affinity with anyone who might feel like stabbing the entire universe in the eye after the death of a loved one, I really dug the film BECKY and found it to be a wonderfully cathartic experience. In fact, it made me laugh with sadistic glee on multiple occasions. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for killer kid flicks. I think (I know) it’s because I felt so powerless in my youth. BECKY is a home invasion turned revenge tale and it’s basically crafted to have you hooting and hollering when the bad guys get what’s coming to them and for me, it was just what the doctor ordered.

BECKY features frequent horror star Lulu Wilson (OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016), ANNABELLE: CREATION (2017) THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (2018)) as the titular Becky who has recently lost her mother and now has to deal with her father (Joel McHale) setting up house with a new gal (Amanda Brugel of JASON X) and her young son. Even though she is lucky enough to have a super cool fort in the woods and two lovely canines, the girl is salty as hell due to her grief. Making matters oh so worse, a group of escaped convicts led by a bearded, swastika bearing Kevin James (!) stop by to terrorize the household in search of a key (I never fully understood the key aspect but the ambiguity works). The mean home invaders get a little too cocky, kill a dog (ugh) and soon Becky is channeling her suppressed volcanic rage into inventing ghastly ways to dispose of them (and when I say ghastly, I mean I had to cover my eyes at one point). One of the intruders (Robert Maillet aka WWE’s Kurrgan) is the gentle giant type but he’s only gentle because he already killed two kids on the way to Becky’s house so don’t feel too sorry for him.

As noted above, this film is my jam. It kind of reminded me of DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1975) except in this case most of the people who get offed deserve it for being Nazis and in that way, it also reminded me of FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE (1977). Lulu Wilson delivers a multilayered performance and I have to give props to Kevin James for so efficiently shedding the jovial persona he’s known for. More importantly, though BECKY allowed me to vicariously express my fury at death. I was totally with her the moment she snapped and completely understood the wave of nihilism she gets swept up in. I actually felt better after watching this movie as if some air had been left out of my tires right before they burst. Thanks, BECKY!

Note: I realize I just equated an adult man (that would be me) losing a cat who had a full life to a teen prematurely losing her mother and that may be a bit off. I’m sticking with it though because we need content, I’m still a little angry and cats are better than people.

Day of the Triffids (1962) is a zombie movie…hear me out. By Mickster

On a whim, I decided to watch Day of the Triffids on Tubi TV (it is also on Amazon Prime). I watched parts of it about 17 years ago, so I wanted to see all of it. As I watched, I noticed that film makers must have been inspired by this movie. Specifically, directors of the zombie genre were clearly inspired by this film. Take a look at how Day of the Triffids compares to some zombie movies and a zombie show.

1: When Bill Masen (Howard Keel) wakes up to take the bandages off his eyes (he had eye surgery that kept him from viewing the meteor shower the previous night), he stumbles upon a seemly empty hospital that looks as though it has been turned upside down. This immediately reminded me of 28 Days Later (2002) and The Walking Dead (2010). Jim (Cillian Murphy) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) both wake up confused in seemingly empty hospitals unaware of the devastation that has occurred, while they were unconscious.

2: After people who viewed the comet go blind, society begins to quickly crumble. This mirrors practically every zombie movie/television show. People have as much to fear from each other as they do from the triffids or zombies. The train station scene where Bill Masen saves the little girl Susan (Janina Faye) from a man after the train crashes illustrates this idea. This is shown again when Bill finds a group of drunken convicts having their way with some blind women. He has to rescue Susan and Miss Durrant (Nicole Maurey) from this disturbing scene. In 28 Days Later (2002), Jim rescues Selena (Naomie Harris) and Hannah (Megan Burns) from the soldiers who lured them to their base under false pretenses. During season 4, episode 16 of The Walking Dead, Rick rips out a dude’s (Jeff Kober) throat with his teeth to save Carl (Chandler Riggs), not from zombies, but from a group called the Claimers. One Claimer was about to go all Deliverance (1972) on Carl, so Rick had no choice, but to go rippy rippy with his teethy teethy.

3: Sound attracts triffids the way sound attracts zombies. When Bill discovers the connection between sound and triffids, he uses the music in an ice cream truck to draw the triffids away from his group. Sound has been utilized as a tool for distracting zombies. Dawn of the Dead’s (1978) Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reinger) use the department store music to distract zombies, while they explore the Monroeville Mall for supplies. Shaun (Simon Pegg) makes noise and runs from zombies in front of The Winchester to save his friends in Shaun of the Dead (2004). Unfortunately, jukebox music attracts zombies to The Winchester later on in the film.

4: Smart people try to solve the problem. In Day of the Triffids, married biologists Tom (Kieron Moore) and Karen Goodwin (Janette Scott, from the Rocky Horror Picture Show lyrics) spend most of the movie trying to discover how to destroy the triffids. At the end of the movie, they discover that sea water kills them. With this knowledge, the world is saved from those pesky triffids. In Night of the Living Dead (1968), the reporter on TV shares how to destroy the zombies (a blow to the head), so the general public knows how to protect themselves. In Day of the Dead (1985), Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty) attempts to train zombies to be non aggressive by using positive reinforcement. Remember Bub (Sherman Howard)? The company, Zomcon, utilizes domestication collars to turn zombies into house servants in the black comedy Fido (2006).

I rest my case. Day of the Triffids is a zombie movie even though it doesn’t have zombies.

The Uncanny (1977) By Mickster

Like everyone else, I am spending more time at home watching movies (in between e-learning with my students). So over the weekend, my husband and I were looking at all the choices on Amazon Prime, and we found The Uncanny. I love a good anthology horror film, but when that anthology features Peter Cushing AND cats, it is even better.

Wilbur Gray (Peter Cushing) wants Frank Richards (Ray Milland) to believe that he has evidence that cats have control over humans, but I argue the evidence shows humans committing some of the seven deadly sins and paying the ultimate price via feline angels of death. After examining the evidence, I think you will agree the cats are completely justified in their actions.

Story one “London 1912” is about the backlash of unbridled greed.

Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) has cut her greedy nephew out of her will and replaced him with her clowder of cats. Unbeknownst to Miss Malkin, her maid, Janet (Susan Penhaligon), is in cahoots with her nefarious nephew, Michael (Simon Williams). Janet destroys the lawyer’s copy of the new will and plots with Michael to nab Miss Malkin’s copy in her bedroom safe. What Janet fails to realize is Miss Malkin’s kitties are constantly watching her every move. When Janet suffocates Miss Malkin after she catches her red-handed raiding her safe, the cats take vengeful action. 

Story two “Quebec Province 1975” is about the perilous path of envy.

Poor Lucy (Katrina Holden) has lost both parents and is forced to go live with her uncaring aunt and nasty, jealous cousin, Angela (Chloe Franks). Her one saving grace is her loyal cat, Wellington and some interesting books on witchcraft. Well, Angela is jealous that Wellington wants nothing to do with her and Angela’s father (Donald Pilon) shows kindness to the orphaned child, so she starts blaming things on Wellington as well as Lucy in order to make her mother, who already hates the cat, take Wellington away. Her underhanded scheme works and Wellington is carted off. To make things even worse, Lucy’s aunt (Alexandra Stewart) burns her books, except for one that Lucy saved. Too bad for Angela, the book Lucy saved is just the thing she needs, along with Wellington making his way back, to take revenge on her bratty cousin.

Story three “Hollywood 1936” is about the negative repercussions of lust.

The aptly named Valentine De’ath (Donald Pleasence) is tired of his actress wife and co-star, Madeleine (Catherine Begin), so he sets up an on the set “accident” which kills her quite gruesomely, think “The Pit and the Pendulum” style. He then has his mistress, Edina (Samantha Eggar), take his deceased wife’s place in the film. When Valentine so rudely brings Edina home to fool around, Madeleine’s cat is not happy. Even more horrifying, Valentine murders the cat’s kittens by flushing them down the toilet (Um, that really pissed me off). Well, it turns out that hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned. Kitties can orchestrate “accidents” too!

As the film wraps up, Wilbur Gray leaves his evidence with Frank Richards before making his way home with numerous cats following closely behind. Now, I still assert the people in those stories got what was coming to them. The cats were completely justified in their actions. Let’s just call it kitty karma.

The Invisible Man (2020)

Remember when I was telling you a while back that I brought my friend who was going through a salty divorce to see BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019) hoping she’d find it cathartic but instead she found it silly and was left questioning my taste in cinema? Well, I’ve redeemed myself by taking the same troubled gal-pal to go see THE INVISIBLE MAN which left her all riled up, scrappy and pleasantly pissed off. Don’t worry, even though THE INVISIBLE MAN could be accused of overtly allegorizing timely #metoo grievances, I think anyone who has struggled with a bully, psychological abuse or a general lack of having their perceptions taken seriously is bound to relate. Writer/director LEIGH (UPGRADE) WHANNELL does a herculean job of breathing new relevant life into one of UNIVERSAL’s least potent (imo) classic monsters and the end result is an undeniable success. Of course, I could have used a tad more clarity when it came to addressing who was feeding and caretaking a certain family pet who is left alone for long periods of time but that’s my issue. I’m just going to assume rich people always have a bevy of employees we never see and let it go (Note: I’m still wondering what happened to Deckard’s faithful pooch in BLADE RUNNER 2049 and I may forever).

ELIZABETH MOSS delivers a raw, fearless performance as Cecilia Kass, a woman who finds death itself is not enough to keep her controlling psychotic stalker boyfriend at bay. You see, it looks like Cecilia’s tormentor may have faked his own demise and (thanks to his deep pockets and optical expertise) has figured out a way to make his presence imperceptible to the naked eye. The gas-lighting goon doesn’t mind sabotaging her career, trashing her relationships and painting her as a short-fused, child-abusing lunatic. MOSS gets to burn bright as a cornered victim with nothing left to lose swinging from pathetic to ferocious without breaking a sweat; her multileveled, virtuoso execution pretty much puts most recent Oscar nominees to shame and it’s too bad it’ll likely go unheralded. It doesn’t hurt that MOSS’s Cecilia is surrounded by equally compelling characters, from the kindly father/daughter team that take her in that you hate to see endangered (ALDIS HODGE and STORM REID) to her tough as nails sister Emily (HARRIET DRYER) who you can’t blame for being immensely skeptic. Even her ex’s slimy weasel brother (MICHAEL DORMAN) is perfectly despicable and a great joy to see taken down a few pegs.

Besides sharing DNA with your standard “blank from hell” nineties thriller and your favorite made-for-TV woman in peril flick, a large chunk of THE INVISIBLE MAN reminded me of good old CANDYMAN (sans the romance). The two films do somewhat mirror (!) each other in the way that the female leads are put through the wringer, wrongfully committed and left holding the bag, accused of their phantom’s murders. No spoilers, but in both cases escape and redemption are only possible by adapting their menace’s skills and becoming a righteous variation of the monster (I’d even say that both are sorta subversive superhero origin stories at heart). It’s really been a long time since I’ve experienced a film with such a rousing and satisfying conclusion. Clever, compact and refreshingly to the point- this sleek sci-fi/horror/thriller hybrid like THE THING, THE FLY & INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS before it; joins an all too tiny club of relevant remakes that are equal to or even surpass their source material. What can I say? There’s no better way to put it, THE INVISIBLE MAN is a must-see, simple as that.