The Invisible Man: Movie Review

The Invisible Man.

The “Invisible Man.”

   Horror films can at times feel like a redundant genre of constant jumpscares and loud instrumentals to ‘scare’ viewers, when in reality they were more surprised then they were scared.

   However; The Invisible Man (classic H.G wells tale) focuses on one fear that everyone has: the fear of the unknown. While there is something to be said about films like 2017’s IT having great special effects showing monstrous imagery, there is something that is just more frightening about a horror figure that you can’t see. Not seeing the monster is part of the reason why 1979’s Alien is one of the most immortalized horror films, having only four minutes of screen time out of an almost two-hour film. 

   The Invisible Man’s story revolves around Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) as she leaves her crazed and abusive boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Weeks after Cecilia escapes Adrian’s wrath, she’s paranoid to step foot outside. She is also worried that he will go after her and the people she loves most. However, that paranoia slowly dissipates when Cecilia hears news of Adrian’s suicide.

   For once in her life, Cecilia can finally feel safe and not have to constantly worry about her safety. As part of Adrien’s will, he left Cecilia five million dollars on the one condition that she isn’t declared mentally incompetent. A cruel joke as both the audience and Cecilia discover that there is an invisible figure tormenting her by making her feel as though she is going insane. Cecilia figures that it must be Adrien, saying “he said that wherever I went, he would find me walking right up to me and I couldn’t see him.”

   Having an invisible foe as the main antagonist of a horror film, it leaves a lot to the imagination for the viewer. Leaving a large portion of the believability of this film to the lead actress, Elisabeth Moss. Moss delivers an anxiety-filled performance that leaves audience members to look at every corner of the screen, making sure nothing is out of place.

   Not only is the film a great SciFi and horror, but the choice of using the invisible man for a story about toxic and abusive relationships works on such a thematic level that it is honestly surprising that this interpretation has just been made now.

   For many women like Cecilia, it is hard coming out of a relationship that torments you not only physically but psychologically, it can feel as though that person is still there with you even when they aren’t even in the room. Like the effects of abusive relationships, the invisible man never leaves Cecilia, driving her not only mad but tearing apart the only healthy relationships in her life.

   The Invisible Man, while maybe not the goriest or grotesque horror movie, reminds audience members that horror movies are not just frivolous popcorn flicks that are cast away after you have seen every scare. But they are still a medium in which we explore real-life fears.