This review contains some light spoilers!
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a roller coaster ride for movies. When March came around, there were so many movies I was looking forward to by the end of the year. That list keeps dwindling as movies get pushed to 2021 and 2022. Thankfully, The Invisible Man saw its release date and instantly made an impression.
My first and only other experience with seeing Elisabeth Moss on the screen was when I saw US. I also haven’t seen The Handmaid’s Tale yet, which is on my never-ending list to get to at some point. To see her go from a more minor role in Us to leading The Invisible Man was quite a treat. I know she’s been in plenty of other shows and movies like Mad Men and Her Smell – I’m just bad at watching things in a timely manner.
Right from the opening scene, you know that Cecilia is living in fear. It’s something that many women go through and Moss plays the role where you forget you’re watching a fictional story on the screen. You feel her fear. You want to yell at everyone who doesn’t believe her. And you want her to overcome the fear. If you don’t feel at least something while you’re watching this movie, you might not be human.
The supporting cast holds their own, too. Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Storm Reid, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen are never truly at the center of the movie, but they all understand their roles. Storm Reid is a budding star. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is bouncing from horror role to horror role and I’m loving it. Aldis Hodge was just announced as Hawkman in the upcoming Black Adam film, and I’m excited to see where his career continues to go. Harriet Dyer is the supporting cast member whom I was the least familiar with. There is a way she portrays Emily where never waivers in her support for her sister. This is even after a nasty email that was not actually sent by Cecilia.
I won’t give too much away since the movie came out this year, but at its heart, it’s a psychological thriller through and through. You’ll find jump scares, but not in the same way that you get them in slasher films. What The Invisible Man does well is it dives into Cecilia’s process behind her thinking. She’s not someone makes the same dumb mistakes that you’ll see the teens making at Camp Crystal Lake. Instead, you have Cecilia trying to rationalize everything that’s happening to her, given everything that previously happened to her and what she knows about Adrian. While her rationalization makes complete sense to her, to people who don’t know or understand what she’s been through, it sounds baseless and unrealistic.
Leigh Whannell captures the essence of what it’s like to be traumatized by manipulation. The Invisible Man never feels over-the-top. Sure, not everyone is going to be a genius like Adrian and be able to create a suit that makes someone invisible, but the move is not entirely about that. Although, that is a clever way to modernize this story for the present day. It’s about being manipulated into staying in a relationship that’s toxic. Cecilia sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night to get away because Adrian was holding her captive in more ways than one.
The focus on Cecilia’s psychological torture is a compelling way to drive the story. Even if you can’t exactly relate to her, you understand why she feels how she feels. That’s crucial for the movie to get right because, without it, the whole thing falls apart. We all know that 2020 hasn’t been full of the movies many of us were expecting, but The Invisible Man instantly impressed me and it’s a must-watch for Halloween season.