An update and reimagining of an old idea , The Invisible Man successfully crafts tension and scares, while lacing the story with topical awareness and psychological chills.
We open with Cecilia Kass( Elisabeth Moss)escaping from her boyfriend Adrian Griffin(Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who she lives with in his high tech house. She is aided in her escape by her sister Emily(Harriet Dyer) and following this she goes to live secretly with childhood friend/ cop James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney( Storm Reid). After this we learn that Adrian had been controlling every aspect of their relationship and would regularly abuse Cecilia to the point that she thought she was losing her mind. Then Cecelia hears that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Cecelia is shocked by this because Adrian was so in control of everything, including her and enjoyed the feeling of owning something. But nonetheless with his apparent demise, she attempts to recover from the abuse she suffered and start a new life. Unfortunately, a lingering presence won’t let that happen for Cecelia . What first appears to just be her being paranoid because of strange coincidences soon becomes clear that something is stalking her, though everyone thinks it is just the trauma talking. With events turning dangerous and her friends questioning her sanity, Cecelia starts to feel cut off from everything with no one believing her that Adrian is doing this somehow. Desperate and isolated by this point, Cecelia must muster all her strength in order to avoid going insane and figuring out just how Adrian is still able to torment her despite being apparently dead.
Right from the opening, in which we see Cecelia escape from Adrian’s grasp , Leigh Whannell places us right in the middle of tension and keeps it ticking away like a time bomb. Once Cecelia escapes, the tension and uneasiness is never far away as it bubbles away before steadily ratcheting things up notch by notch. Whannell is a skilled director and writer who truly brings this creepy story to life and knows how to make an impact on the audience by pushing the right buttons and also throwing in some unexpected moments too .The themes of oppression of women and particularly abuse inflicted by toxic masculinity echo the real life events across the entertainment industry the past few years. The Invisible Man understands just how suffocating and damaging dealing with abuse like gaslighting can be and what it can do to your head. For that reason, it really stuck in my mind and I’m sure it will do the same to others who see it. One tiny niggle is that the film loses a bit of steam in the midsection and a little editing could have been a tad more efficient. But this is a minor gripe in one chilling and suspenseful horror thriller. Visually, the cold colours of The Invisible Man are hauntingly rendered and the usage of wide shots to test the audience into noticing whether something has moved is alarmingly effective . I mean the way the camera lingers with tension is so assured that you feel genuinely unnerved by it . And it’s put to amazing use during a particularly brutal sequence that is one continuous moving shot that has to be seen to be appreciated . The low hum of the score further exemplifies an unearthly presence that won’t stop until it is satisfied.
What gives The Invisible Man a lot of its power is the central turn from the always talented and watchable Elisabeth Moss. Exploring the desperation, isolation and eventual strength of her character, Moss doesn’t miss a beat as the abused woman slowly piecing things together. We buy into her anger, sadness and confusion, as well as the burning resilience waiting to burst through. And it’s all down to Elisabeth Moss, who has the ability to make us feel often without speaking a word( her expressive face does that to stunning effect.) For the time he’s on screen, Oliver Jackson-Cohen makes Cecelia’s abusive ex suitably slippery and chilling; you really buy into the fact that he could manipulate you anyway he wanted to. Harriet Dyer convinces as the sarcastic but caring sister , while the supportive and strong duo of Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid adds to moments of levity for Cecilia as she attempts to rebuild her life, little realising the nightmare has only just begun . Michael Dorman excels as Adrian’s mysterious brother who you are on the fence about and can’t help but question which side he is on given his familial ties. Not to take anything away from any of the other cast, but The Invisible Man belongs to Elisabeth Moss
Scary, unnerving and above all well acted(particularly by Moss), The Invisible Man is a horror/thriller that manages to get under your skin from the very beginning. Trust me, you’ll be checking over your shoulder when this movie finishes