The Invisible Man (2020) is directed by Leigh Whannell and it is based on the story with the same name written by H. G. Wells. In this modern take on the classic story, The Invisible Man this time is Adrian Griffin, the abusive partner who forces our protagonist, Cecilia to run away. When Adrian seemingly takes his own life, Cecilia believes she’s on the road to recovery but that is far from the truth as an invisible force is tormenting her at every opportunity, leading her to believe, it’s her deceased ex, Adrian. The movie stars Elizabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Michael Dorman, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
This movie was one of the last new releases which was able to make some money before theatres started closing around the world. Despite having an R rating and only being open for a couple of weeks, it made an impressive $125 million on a $7 million budget. Aside from its commercial success, the movie was also a hit with critics who gave it rave reviews. With all of this hype surrounding The Invisible Man, you would think that I would have seen it immediately when it came to digital. Well, me too.
Just like all of the great horror movies out there, The Invisible Man‘s horror stems from something we have all feared, the unknown. We have all had moments where we think we’re being watched. Moments where you’re alone at night and you hear something out of the ordinary and automatically assume that your time has come. This movie plays on that fear and uses it to its full potential and while that is definitely worth praising, the reason why this movie works as well as it does is because of its perspective. Considering the fact that we’re living in the #MeToo movement, it is fitting that one of the scariest movies in recent memory deals with an abusive relationship.
While writing my notes for this review, I started to notice that The Invisible Man is really a more sophisticated version of David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018). Funnily enough, both are made by Blumhouse. While one is a slasher and the other is sci-fi inspired both horror movies explore trauma. Both horror movies feature a traumatized protagonist and use that to elevate the story and most importantly, the scares. The antagonist uses eerie silence and fear of the unknown to terrify both the audience and the main character. That being said while both movies deal with trauma in realistic ways, Halloween has been around for decades, The Invisible Man is a self-contained story with a beginning, middle and end. The trauma and paranoia caused by an abusive relationship is a fear far too many people, especially women have unfortunately experienced and this movie is telling that story. After all, the only special thing about the antagonist is the fact that he’s invisible, he is still an abusive ex who gaslights his ex-partner and that is horrifying enough.
The Invisible Man is a horror movie which actually uses its r rating and delivers some instantly iconic scenes. There is a scene in a restaurant which was heavily talked about, I won’t spoil anything but my mouth stayed open for a good minute after it happened. It’s really surprising to see such a simple concept taken to such clever levels. There is a scene where Cecilia goes outside in the chilly air, you can see her breath but a second later, his breath too. That’s what makes a horror movie iconic, moments like those and this movie has a ton. It is also directed by the man responsible for Upgrade, Leigh Whanell and his cinematographer Stefan Duscio also returns. Their style took form in Upgrade but it is masterful in The Invisible Man, this movie looks stunning. It’s also incredibly important that in a movie which features an invisible antagonist, the camera is being used as cleverly as possible to make the audience second-guess what they’re looking at. IT composer, Benjamin Wallfisch returns to the horror genre with this movie and elevates the movie with a great score which increases the tension tenfold.
Elizabeth Moss is the true star of this movie and even though I have yet to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, I have seen her in Jordan Peele’s Us and this movie and I am quickly becoming a fan. She is incredible in this movie, she gives one of those performances where you just forget that you’re actually watching a movie and that this person is acting. It is up there with Toni Collette’s Hereditary and Lupita Nyong’o’s Us performances for me. The rest of the cast is also great. Aldis Hodge brings a very warm and likeable presence to a cold and scary atmosphere. I love that Storm Reid is in more work, I liked her in A Wrinkle In Time and I love her in Euphoria but here she shows Scream Queen material. Michael Dorman is another standout, I have never seen him in anything else but his performance was electric. Harriet Dyer had some weird moments. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is another fantastic addition to this movie despite his limited screentime. I just rewatched this movie with my mother and let’s just say he got some angry reactions out of her.
Overall, The Invisible Man is a shocking, intense and well-shot movie which upon being a damn good horror movie, it has an added layer of sophistication with the abusive partner angle making this movie very relevant and all the more scary. This movie is also a fantastic follow up to Upgrade from Whannell, I am mighty excited to see what he comes up with next. Elizabeth Moss gives an Oscar-worthy performance and I highly suggest this movie. It is definitely a must-see (I stole that one, I literally couldn’t think of any other invisible puns).