Loosely based on the classic H. G. Wells novel, ‘The Invisible Man’ is that rare film remake that actually works. By adapting its source material to fit its modern surroundings, it is a smart, thrilling and chilling horror that says as much about domestic abuse as it does for fun sci-fi thrills.
After escaping from an abusive boyfriend, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) is relieved to hear that he has committed suicide. However, believing the torment would end, she soon starts to come to the chilling realisation that he isn’t in fact dead, he has simply discovered a way to become invisible. A silly gimmick in principle, the invisibility in the film is played very well, providing genuine scares and terrifying real-world consequences.
Elizabeth Moss is absolutely electric in the film, creating a total bedrock to base the film’s thrills upon. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and hers provide the necessary torture of an abuse survivor, but also the desired empowerment and strength that you’d want from a protagonist. The film also features Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
The other star of the show is the cinematography from Stefan Duscio. Framing the shot as if there’s a man standing behind the characters, many scenes highlight the empty walls rather than the main featured characters. The result is an astonishing sense of paranoia, where you’re never sure if the Invisible Man is there or not. This, tied with the dark music and sound design creates a truly unsettling atmosphere.
Naturally, as is often the case with horror films, there are some repeated elements in the first and second act. Multiple sequences are spent tiptoeing around searching for the Invisible Man. However, as the narrative progresses, shocking twists and turns lead to a thrilling finale, and the earlier repetition can easily be forgiven.
The film also makes an important note about domestic abuse and the psychological torture that goes on behind closed doors. The character of the Invisible Man is a personification for the hidden scars and secretive abuse that can hurt so many people, and it’s refreshing to have a film that isn’t afraid to highlight these issues while also not exploiting them for it’s own narrative.
Overall, ‘The Invisible Man’ is a fabulous horror film that takes into consideration both the classical story but its modern setting. The result is a thrilling horror that is as terrifying as it is enjoyable.