"The Invisible Man" Movie Review

Updated on March 4, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man | Source

In a time when “horror movie” has come to mean paranormal things crawling across a ceiling or spooks providing cheap jump-scares as they pounce out of a closet, it’s easy for an excellent, truly terrifying film like The Invisible Man to stand out. The film is credited as being based on the 1897 H.G. Wells novel, but the only similarities are the existence of an unseen man and a shared character name. Writer-director Leigh Whannell’s adaptation is a story and a concept unto itself, and it stands on its own as an instant classic in horror moviemaking. Smart horror moviemaking.

Elisabeth Moss is perfectly cast as Cee, a San Francisco architect who, when we meet her, is sneaking out of the bed she shares with her abusive husband Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). We’re barely thirty seconds in, and already we’re hooked without a line of dialogue spoken as Whannell cleverly and efficiently gives us all we need to know about this relationship.

After escaping, Cee is driven by her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) to the house of mutual friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Understandably paranoid, Cee can’t so much as walk out the front door of the house until she gets word a few weeks later that Adrian has committed suicide. Her serenity is short-lived, though, as unexplained things start happening in the house—the stove is turned up by itself, a knife disappears, the bed sheets are pulled to the floor—and she slowly comes to the realization that Adrian must somehow be behind it all.

By the time it’s revealed that her suspicions are correct and that Adrian is a mega-wealthy tech genius (with a fitting affinity for optics), the audience buy-in is complete, and the fear grows exponentially as Adrian’s gaslighting of his wife escalates to an unfathomable level. The old saying may well be “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”, but in Whannell’s more-than-capable hands, that gets thrown out the window and trampled to death in the front yard. It’s precisely what we don’t know that drives the terror permeating The Invisible Man.

With a combination of achingly slow camera pans and brilliant use of negative space, Whannell (with the help of cinematographer Stefan Duscio) invites us first-hand into Cee’s growing paranoia. There are several shots, for example, from Cee’s point of view of a room’s empty corner, where we know Adrian is standing—the only question is what will he do to her. And we literally never see it coming.

It’s a brilliant strategy and a clear demonstration of a writer-director believing in his audience and not feeling the need to rely on obvious, overt horror tropes to raise our collective blood pressure. Sound editor P.K. Hooker and composer Benjamin Wallfisch (doing his best Bernard Herrmann impression) get high marks, too, helping round out the film as a bonafide success from start to finish.

Like the horrific, terrifying character at its center, The Invisible Man is a true must-see… even if seeing it means peeking through your fingers in a darkened theater.


4.5/5 stars

'The Invisible Man' trailer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)