Between Leigh Whannell’s 2020 hit The Invisible Man and Paul Verhoeven’s Hollow Man, which is the best version of a similar horror story?
There have been many movies based on H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. From the 1933 version all the way to 2020’s movie by Leigh Whannell, the Invisible Man has terrified and thrilled audiences. In the last few decades, the latest incarnations of the story went in radically different directions.
In 2000, Hollow Man starring Kevin Bacon was more of a slasher film that went all-out with the sci-fi horror elements. Leigh Whannell took on the story in 2020 with The Invisible Man, putting less focus on the villain and more on his victim for a suspense thriller. Both have their fans but which did the story better?
7 The Invisible Man Tried Something Different
With reboots, it’s very easy to retread what has come prior. Leigh Whannell and Blumhouse instead took a very different approach to adapt The Invisible Man. Rather than the usual story of a scientist who is transformed into an actual invisible person via a formula, the 2020 reboot goes for a more realistic angle.
The villain is only invisible thanks to a high-tech suit that renders him invisible to the naked eye. Also, the entire movie is from his victim’s perspective with the Invisible Man acting more like a silent stalker. For some viewers, it didn’t always work but there is no denying that the 2020 reboot is a unique spin of the classic tale.
6 Hollow Man Is Slightly Closer To The Book
Both incarnations stray from the book but Hollow Man still remembers its roots. Eccentric scientist tests a formula on himself that makes every cell in his body invisible. The scientist is corrupted by the formula thus turning him into a deranged murderer with a hunger for power.
Hollow Man still changes things by showing more of the descent into madness and having most of the film take place in the lab where he is created. Hollow Man also makes its villain much more volatile and brutal in his methods.
5 Slasher VS Thriller
Hollow Man is a much more straightforward horror film. Once Sebastian Caine completely snaps, it becomes a slasher film with all his once-friends and colleagues stuck in the underground facility. He’s trying to kill them all and they are trying just as hard to stop him. Simple but effective with lots of gory kills.
The 2020 version of The Invisible Man is very minimalistic, mainly due to its budget. Adrian Griffin is more of a twisted sociopath who torments Cecelia without revealing himself. The reboot plays with the concept of fearing something that may or may not be there. Both of these films’ styles are admirable in very different ways.
4 Leigh Whannell & Paul Verhoeven
Though Paul Verhoeven admitted to not being happy with the final product, his fingerprints are still there. The excessive amounts of cursing, blood, and a twisted sense of humor. It’s all there and works, for the most part, fitting with the more slasher angle. Verhoeven also utilizes lighting and settings effectively, allowing the invisibility effects to shine brightly throughout and execute the many kills well.
Leigh Whannell is also effective, utilizing lots of beautifully smooth camera pans to hint where the invisible man is without actually showing him. When Adrian Griffin does go on a killing spree, the camera movements to follow his actions are nothing short of award-worthy. Both directors showcase their talents but Leigh Whannell unleashed his style with The Invisible Man as the superior director.
3 Portraying Invisibility
Different styles and different budgets. The 2020 movie saved most of its flashy ways of portraying invisibility until the last act. The invisibility suit is a novel concept, even though it raises a few questions. Since the focus is more on characters and sound design, the actual invisibility effects are good but mostly serviceable due to the low budget.
Meanwhile, Paul Verhoeven was given a much larger budget for Hollow Man. This led to big transformations, Kevin Bacon giving a motion-capture performance, showing off the different elements hitting his invisible body, explosions, and more. It all looks surprisingly good for a movie from 2000 and is way ahead of its time.
2 The Invisible Man Was More Character Driven
Both films feature very different casts. Hollow Man‘s cast consists of scientists and engineers who become Sebastian’s body count. While none of them are bad, they do not hold a candle to the leads; Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin who are great heroes to combat Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian.
Leigh Whannell’s movie has a much smaller cast, focusing almost entirely on Elisabeth Moss’ Cecelia. Moss gives a great performance as this mentally strained and broken individual trying to fight off her invisible tormenter. However, Cecelia as a character is worth rooting for despite her minor flaws. The James, played by Aldis Hodge, deserved way more screentime along with the daughter.
1 Adrian Griffin & Sebastian Caine
Kevin Bacon’s Hollow Man or Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s Invisible Man? Yet again, the differences between these two are like night and day. Jackson-Cohen plays Adrian Griffin but sadly, the actor is given almost nothing to do. There is no development of the character, he speaks very rarely, and nothing about him really stands out. Even those that loved The Invisible Man say that Jackson-Cohen was misused or underused as an actor.
On the other hand, Kevin Bacon kills it as Sebastian Caine. Bacon is known for playing his demented yet charismatic characters so he plays things closer to the 1933 version. Bacon can be scary but at the same time, he brings humor to the character that can be hilarious in one scene but disturbing in another. Since most of Hollow Man is from his point of view, his descent into madness also feels more believable, thus creating a more memorable villain.
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