Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements, Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not; instead, I want to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Universal Picture’s release of Leigh Whannell’s 2020 adaptation of The Invisible Man.
For this week’s article, I figured I would take a break from reviewing discs of forgotten films from yesteryear and check out something more recent. You might be thinking, “what do you consider recent,” since The Invisible Man is almost two years old, as of this writing. I tend to avoid reviewing mainstream discs released within the last handful of years. I have nothing against movies recently released, but the love and attention to the physical media releases of mainstream discs leave a lot to be desired.
Whereas smaller, boutique labels like Arrow Video, 88 Films, Shout! Factory and others cater to the film enthusiast, physical media releases from mainstream films feel lackluster. From photoshopped covers to talking-head interviews filled with glad-handing, and making of’s that barely scratch the surface, there is an overall feel of a disc coming off an assembly line. And, I get it. Not every disc needs to be curated and handled like the Ark of the Covenant. If you’re a cinephile, though, assembly line discs can frustrate us, the viewers.
I’m not going to sit here and bash films and production companies for the quality of a disc’s content. Whatever they feel needs to be put on the release will find its way there. Not everyone wants to have the limited edition two-disc set of Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge starring Pauly Shore, complete with two commentaries, a behind-the-scenes documentary, and three cuts of the film. That’s a package for cinephiles only. At the same time, if a movie like this can get that much love and attention, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to have Hollywood films put out half-decent releases of their big-budget studio films.
Thankfully, Universal Pictures did fans of The Invisible Man a solid by releasing a disc with enough supplements to cater to casual viewers along with those seeking a deep-dive into this 2020 film.
Starting with the exterior, the version I snagged at my local box store came with a slipcover—designs on this and the case reflect the same artwork. A slipcover is not a make-or-break deal for me, but it is a nice touch to this package.
Getting into the heart of this review, the disc itself has a hearty collection of supplemental material. Kicking things off is an assortment of nine deleted scenes. Most of these scenes continue the wonderful character-building that is present in the finished film. None of these scenes are vital and would slow the pace of an already tightly-paced film. The most curious aspect is the sequence of Elisabeth Moss’s character in the shower with a handprint becoming visible on the glass is not among the deleted footage. If you’ve seen the film, you know this scene—present in the trailer and on the slipcover of the disc I am reviewing—is not to be found. Curiously, all press materials included this sequence, yet it’s not part of this disc. If I were a betting man, I would assume this sequence was shot specifically for marketing and was never to be part of the film.
Next, we come to a small, behind-the-scenes-making-of entitled “Moss Manifested.” Mixing talking head interviews with Elisabeth Moss and Jason Blum along with on-set footage, this brief feature packs a lot of material into a short timespan. The footage we get to see includes the kitchen fight, the hallway scene, and the final sequence. “Moss Manifested” may be a brief featurette, but it makes the most of its time.
The next featurette comes in the form of “Director’s Journey with Leigh Whannell.” Whannell sits down to discuss his love of films, horror specifically, and how adaptations of The Invisible Man are few and far between. Starting with Day 1 of shooting, Leigh Whannell gathers his production group and prays to the movie gods for a smooth shoot. From there, we follow Whannell and his crew through 40 days of shooting. As with the prior feature, the runtime is short, especially traversing through an entire film shoot, but we get to see a lot of behind-the-scenes moments. From production sequencing to watching robotic cameras in action, you feel like a fly on the wall with Whannell and the crew of The Invisible Man. I wanted more from this feature, but, like “Moss Manifested,” the time is well-spent on the interesting, filmmaking side of the production and less with talking-head interviews.
The next feature focuses on the talent pool within the production titled “The Players.” Unlike the prior supplements, this making-of has more of a “talking heads”-vibe than those previously mentioned. The entire cast talks about their time on set and what drew them to this horror remake. Not my favorite feature on the disc, but it is nice to hear from the rest of the cast over the scant runtime.
The last featurette on the disc, “Timeless Terror,” focusing on adapting an existing intellectual property. “Timeless Terror” is a brief featurette discussing the original version of The Invisible Man. Unfortunately, the scant runtime and lack of depth result in an underwhelming bonus feature. There are fulfilling documentaries that can draw parallels between the original and the remake—this is not one of them.
The last and best feature comes from the feature-length commentary provided by writer/director Leigh Whannell. In the past, Whannell has contributed to engaging and informative tracks on other releases; with The Invisible Man, Whannell continues that trend. Whannell holds the listener’s attention—alternating between behind-the-scenes anecdotes and filmmaking techniques. Have you ever listened to one person presenting for two hours? Unless that speaker knows how to engage the audience, that can be an extraneous 120 minutes. Whannell is similar in that he can engage his audience for the entirety of the runtime. Not everyone can do what Whannell does on the commentary track, and it’s appreciated that he appears to be enjoying dictating his thoughts for our ears.
And Whannell touched upon the handprint-on-the-shower shot that I mentioned earlier. Now, this is not vital information, but it was nice to hear him discussing where the shot was placed and why it was removed. You’ll have to listen to find out what happened to that moment in the film.
There you have it. When The Invisible Man was initially released, it garnered a lot of praise from audiences and critics. That praise is warranted. I have yet to find a bad film from Leigh Whannell, and The Invisible Man is one of his finest. Now, most of the features are brief, but what we do get makes for an enjoyable package, courtesy of Universal Pictures. Considering that the physical media release of The Invisible Man came from a big studio and not a boutique label, the release should satisfy those who enjoy Whannell’s 2020 film. Anchored by a stellar commentary from Leigh Whannell and the handful of deleted scenes and mini-documentaries, the Blu-ray of The Invisible Man should appear on any horror fans’ shelf.