The Invisible Man
HG Wells’s famous novel The Invisible Man is here reworked by writer-director Leigh Whannel into a glossy yet macabre tale of gaslighting, abuse and psychological trauma from a distinctly feminist standpoint. Whilst Whannel’s previous work as a writer (Saw, Insidious) have proven him a big name within the horror game, The Invisible Man offers a much more stripped-back (and less gory) approach to the genre which, for the most part, makes for a satisfying watch.
The film tells the story of Cynthia (Elisabeth Moss), a woman who has recently escaped an abusive relationship with ex-partner Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and is living with her friend, James (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter, Sydney (Sky Reid). Together, they try to rebuild her life, though Cynthia is haunted – perhaps irreparably – by her past. Then her sister arrives to tell her that Adrian is dead. Following his death, there is a brief moment of reprieve – Cynthia inherits a vast amount of money and slowly begins to heal her life. But strange and suspicious things soon begin to happen that lead Cynthia, and the audience, to believe that Adrian may not have been left in the past at all.
From the trope of objects moving of their own accord to bedsheets being pulled off throughout the night, Adrian’s continued presence grows more and more disturbing each time he appears (or rather, doesn’t appear). While those around Cynthia begin to question her sanity, and the audience question whether or not the presence is supernatural, Cynthia becomes convinced that Adrian is not only very much alive, but has found a way to render himself invisible.
Although much of this haunting is presented in a way that could be construed as clichéd, Moss’ performance makes for a captivating watch, displaying the inner turmoil of a women driven to complete desperation with the kind of sincerity that is often missing in movies of this genre. This, supported by strong performances from the rest of the cast, saves the movie from its weaker moments. Though much of the film relies on subtlety and suspense, there are a few moments of genuine horror that slip through the net, which often catch the audience off guard, making for a tale as twisted as it is captivating. The viewer, much like the characters in the film, has no idea what is going to happen next, and we spring from one theory to the next to try and explain what is happening and why.
In short, The Invisible Man is an exciting watch with some moments of real excellence, a timely reimagining of the original novel.
The Invisible Man is released nationwide on 28th February 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Invisible Man here: