The Invisible Man Movie Review
Updated: May 5, 2021
The Invisible Man was directed by Leigh Whannell (Upgrade) and stars Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), Aldis Hodge (Leverage), Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time), and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House). The film follows Moss' Cecelia Kass as she leaves her abusive boyfriend, Adrian Griffin. After he kills himself and strange things start to happen, she suspects things may not be as they seem.
I had mixed expectations going into this. I saw the trailer and thought it looked like a cheesy C-level Blumhouse flick. I'm not a big horror fan, so I was planning on skipping out on it altogether. However, once I started to hear the positive buzz, I decided to give it a shot and see what all the fuss was about. I'm pleased to say that it ended up far exceeding my expectations.
What is no doubt the strongest aspect of The Invisible Man is Whannell's direction. The scariest enemy is one you can't see, so the most important thing for him to get right was giving the viewer the sense that someone was always watching without constantly showing it. He frames shots as if there's more than one person in the room, and it's up to your mind to fill in the blanks, which is what makes it so truly terrifying. Even with great direction, a poor story can fall flat. Invisible Man is not one of those movies. It's an intense psychological thriller that felt similar to The Lighthouse in many ways. For most of the runtime, you don't know what's real, and you watch the characters try and figure their way out of the situation while you're trying to do the same.
The special effects are nothing to scoff at either. As with most Blumhouse pictures, it was made on a shoestring budget of under $10 million. The result of this was that many action sequences were shot using practical effects, which allowed the few aspects that were created digitally to be refined. The sets were all very well designed, with Adrian Griffin's house being a particularly great piece. It was used so effectively that it almost felt like a character in and of itself.
As with every movie, Invisible Man has its flaws. Luckily, they aren't too hard to get past and didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film too much. The first half was fairly slow and the main plot takes a while to get going, but I really didn't mind that at all. The biggest issue I had was how predictable the final third was. As soon as it shifted gears, I was immediately able to lay out in my mind everything that would happen in the rest of the act, sans a few minor details. It felt like the writers had a great plan for a psychological horror story but didn't know how to fully weave the action into the last half without it seeming somewhat inconsistent. Nevertheless, the fight sequences were very well shot and I was never taken out of the story by any of my grievances.
Overall, The Invisible Man is a great sci-fi horror film with strong characters and a solid story, despite its minor inconsistencies.