the invisible man
DIRECTOR: Leigh Whannell (upgrade)
STARRING: elizabeth moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, storm reid and aldis hodge
REVIEWER: hadassah devis
When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
When Kass (Elizabeth Moss) escapes from an abusive and controlling relationship with a wealthy scientist, she slowly begins to pick up the pieces of her broken life, only to have it all shattered again when eerie and inexplicable things start to happen around her – despite the fact that her ex is seemingly dead.
The Invisible Man doesn’t need a supernatural monster or creature in the closet to deliver its scares. We know who he is, and why he is doing what he is doing, but that’s not what this take on the classic novel is about. In fact The Invisible Man is hardly about the Invisible Man. The film instead focuses on his victim, his terrified and slowly unravelling ex-girlfriend and that’s the power behind it. It uses the very real fear of being watched. Of not feeling safe in your own home. Of seeing things out the corner of your eye. And the increasing isolation that abuse victims face when nobody believes them.
Even as an audience member I found myself scanning the background for anything suspicious or out of place, half expecting to see a shadow on the wall, or a curtain moving slightly. The film uses a very effective trick where it lets the camera pan off the characters we can see, almost as if it involuntarily picked up something we can’t see, which made me look even harder.
As the film progresses, and as our girl Cecilia realises what is going on and starts to fight back, the same trick is used, but this time reflecting on her senses as she tunes into when and where the invisible man might be present. Unnervingly, that is most of the time. Eek.
While The Invisible Man is marketed as a thriller, it uses a lot of action - particularly towards the end - which for me increased my enjoyment. One of the pet peeves I have with scary films (and I like being spooked out) is they start off scary and then get to a point where they escalate and turn ridiculous, voiding all the built up tension and fear.
The Invisible Man's flip into action (as opposed to silly over the top 'scariness') somehow nullifies this – while being substantially less creepy from that point on, it doesn't take away from the earlier established suspense. So if your cinema buddy isn't usually a fan of thrillers (as mine wasn’t) they might be pleasantly surprised!
The Invisible Man has just the right amount of scare, is incredibly well cast and acted, and takes an old classic and makes it both modern and believable.