The Invisible Man

Daniel O'Sullivan | 26/02/2020

With director Leigh Whannell’s nerve-racking script, Elisabeth Moss’ delightfully unhinged performance and Stefan Duscio’s eerie and nuanced cinematography, The Invisible Man will leave even veterans of the horror-thriller genre in a confirmed case of paranoia.

After escaping an abusive and controlling relationship with her scientist husband, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) goes into hiding with the aid of her sister and their childhood friend. But when her husband suddenly commits suicide and leaves her a small fortune, Cecelia begins to suspect that his death was staged. As a series of dangerous events start to threaten her loved ones and her own sanity, Cecelia must struggle to prove she is being hunted by an unrelenting and invisible threat.

Whannell brings his A-game for this modern update on H.G. Wells’ timeless novel. Ensuring that every tool in his filmmaking arsenal is used to make each frame burst with a palpable nervous energy, he keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the films 124-minute runtime. The script, penned by Whannell, is filled with intrigue and mystery as it swiftly establishes the characters and gets right into the meat of the story; dropping some shocking plot twists just for good measure. This - along with a distinct lack of any extraneous, wasted scenes - creates a pulse pounding experience that never lets up. For some, such a constant state of paranoia may feel exhausting, but for horror-thriller junkies such a sustained level of emotionality feels like a welcome relief. 

Elisabeth Moss undoubtedly carries this film from start to finish. Portraying Cecelia Kass, she performs with a range that endears you just as much as it frightens you; slowly starting to unwind when the threat rears its invisible head. Her chemistry with her co-stars, particularly Storm Reid, helps bring some well utilised pathos to her complex character that an invisible antagonist simply cannot fully provide.

From a technical stance, The Invisible Man minimises the appearance of the threat and instead relies on simple cinematography tricks to provide the chills of an invisible antagonist; whether it’s a footprint on carpet, a cloud of fog from unseen nearby breath or simply focusing on an empty corner of the room during a scene. Though it does also utilise jump scares on occasion, they’re few and far between and executed in an intelligent way so as to not make its inclusion feel cheap.

Conclusion

If you weren’t a naturally paranoid person, you absolutely will be after experiencing this tightly crafted horror-thriller gem.