Based on the H.G. Wells science fiction, The Invisible Man is a slick modern horror which gives a new perspective on the classic notion: what if a person could be completely invisible. But does this adaptation shine new light on the genre or is it just totally transparent?
We open to Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) fleeing her home in an attempt to escape the manipulative grip of her boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who also happens to be a Silicon Valley tech whizz and genius in the field of optics. Two weeks later, she is taking refuge at a friend’s house but still haunted by her traumatic relationship, worried Adrian will find her and exact his revenge. Her worries are seemingly answered, however, when her ex is found dead due to suicide, or so everyone thinks. Cecilia is convinced by a stranger narrative; Adrian is still alive and has found a way to turn invisible, giving him the perfect tool to continue his torture.
Of course, the film is a subversive depiction of abusive relationships, using the elements of horror and sci-fi to convey this point whilst remaining entertaining. One could argue that such serious topics shouldn’t be masked in the soft velour of movie fantasy, but in some cases, it can make some issues easier to dissect. No one believes Cecilia’s insistence that Adrian is alive, rather that the signs are simply in her head, a lasting trauma from his behaviour – a simple yet effective allegory for both relationship-induced PTSD and gaslighting.
Some even doubt accusations that Adrian was abusive when he was alive, correlating with society’s hesitance to believe the victims of abuse.
The film highlights these issues wonderfully, in a manner easy for any audience to digest, partially due to how well crafted it is as a basic horror. The Invisible Man is the quintessential Blumhouse Production – a relatively low budget conceptual horror in which the creative players have been given carte blanche to showcase their talent. What’s great about The Invisible Man is that the main source of terror is, as the title suggests, invisible.
The tension and fear come from the clever use of cinematography, coupled with immersive acting from Moss and a typically twangy and disjointed horror score. A slow pan with a swell of music and suddenly an empty doorway or vacant seat becomes a thing of nightmares. Likewise jump scares are used sparingly, just enough to keep viewers on their toes but never outstaying their welcome.
The Invisible Man is the epitome of good low budget horror; a simple premise executed well in order to deliver some thrills and frights as well as a poignant message. What’s not to love?
Image: Movie DB
Luke Baldwin is a Break Editor at Forge Press.
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