2020 is finally over but before we send it off to the trash heap it deserves to be in, it’s time for the third annual Golden Cages, Flixist’s extremely coveted prize! Each year the Flixist staff gets together to vote on the best and worst films of the year and gives you lovely readers our true and honest thoughts. Plus since there are no other awards shows this winter (suck it Academy!) we’re now the de facto voice of truth in the film industry. So read on dear viewer and see which films win our lovely little award!
Let’s be honest, 2020 was not a great year for horror movies. We had a few gems here and there but only one stood out from the crowd. That is why the staff of Flixist has chosen Leigh Wannell’s The Invisible Man as the Best Horror Movie of 2020. That might seem like a backhanded compliment, only winning due to a lack of competition, but The Invisible Man still made a pretty large splash and deserved all of the attention that it received. This remake took the story of someone who can turn themselves invisible and attached it to a domestic violence drama that meshed better than it may sound on paper. It was one of the few movies to actually make it to theaters before everything shut down and was thusly in the top 10 for the box office of 2020 in the United States. That’s big praise in a year where Bad Boys for Life was the top earner.
If you’ve kept up with Wannell since his directing debut of Upgrade or his writing debut of Saw, know that the guy can do a horror movie. He proves that again here with this tense and foreboding movie. The tension in the atmosphere is one of the things that separate this film from others that have tried to tackle invisible villain movies before (Hollow Man, yuck). The space that is left in the frame of some shots leaves you with unease as to if the invisible perpetrator is lurking unseen. The shots that linger on an empty space after a visible character has left the frame keep you waiting on something that may not come. The drawn-out tension is great and it sells the few jump-scares in the movie that much more. They are effective and not some cop-out scare of a cat screeching or a slamming door.
The film also doesn’t shy away from the heavy subjects it portrays. The first 10 minutes are a masterclass in tension and informing the viewer of the situation. Elizabeth Moss’ Cecilia is in an awful situation and is trying to escape like her life depends on it…turns out it does to a degree. The trauma Moss portrays helps you understand her experiences and also makes it all the more heartbreaking when we see she is covertly being tormented and no one will believe her about the invisible culprit stalking her. Moss does such an amazing job with the character and you feel every hurdle she is going through while fighting an invisible force of not only the man but the trauma she has endured.
The Invisible Man is a tense, clever spin on what could’ve been just another Universal monster horror movie remake cough cough The Mummy cough if it had been in less adept hands. It’s a good thing that there are filmmakers out there willing to develop more creative ideas and bring us what we have decided is our Best Horror Movie of 2020.