I found Leigh Whannell‘s The Invisible Man passable but underwhelming at times. In yesterday’s review I mentioned that it’s vaguely similar to Paul Verhoeven‘s 20-year-old The Hollow Man in that both are about rather ugly and perverse predators.

Kevin Bacon‘s Sebastian Caine and Oliver Jackson-Cohen‘s Adrian Griffin are super-brilliant scientist assholes with increasingly hostile attitudes about their ex-significant others (played respectively by Elisabeth Shue and Elisabeth Moss). The difference is that Jackson-Cohen’s character is a vicious control freak before he enters the ghost realm whereas being invisible seems to exacerbate Bacon’s basic tendencies, causing him to go from arrogant to fiendish.

Whannell’s film is a #MeToo stalker thing, told from the POV of Moss’s besieged character, whereas Verhoeven’s film is more of a neutrally observed, high-tech enterprise with a diseased attitude.

I was drawing upon moderately positive recollections of the Verhoeven but I hadn’t seen it in 20 years. So I rewatched it today on Amazon Prime, and I’m sorry but it’s a kickier ride. A bit colder and creepier than The Invisible Man, true, but with more bang for the buck. For my money it’s more visually inventive and carefully parsed. Andrew Marlowe’s screenplay is smarter and more carefully orchestrated than what Whannell put to page.

Then again the Hollow Man‘s budget was $95 million ($148,947,712 in 2020 dollars) while The Invisible Man cost only $7 million to make, so give Whannell credit for delivering with fewer resources.