Film review: The Invisible Man

A clever twist makes this modern version of a classic into a hit


In this new adaptation of The Invisible Man, prolific horror outfit Blumhouse have  succeeded in putting a fresh and modern spin on H. G. Wells’s timeless story.  Writer/director Leigh Whannel, the man behind horror titles such as Saw, Insidious or more recently the hugely underrated Upgrade, presents a genuinely thrilling reboot with an inspired #MeToo narrative.  

Mad Men and The Handmaid's Tale star Elisabeth Moss is Cecilia, a bright and talented architect who has been trapped in an abusive relationship with wealthy scientist Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). After finally managing to escape his clutches and their fortress-like home in the middle of the night, she is baffled to hear that Adrian has taken his own life, leaving her a small fortune in his will.

Days later, Cecilia begins to suspect that far from being dead, Adrian has somehow found a way of becoming invisible, then faked his own death in order to stalk her. The only problem is that nobody actually believes her, not even her sister Alice (a brilliant turn by Harriet Dyer) and best friend James (Aldis Hodge). Slowly, Cecilia’s life starts to unravel, culminating in a shocking showdown with her ex.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the film is how utterly terrifying it manages to be without overdoing the trademark jump-scares usually associated with Blumhouse’s body of work.

Whannel can’t resist a certain degree of contrivance and often resorts to merely spoon-feeding us  certain aspects of the plot, but this hasn’t stopped him from presenting a nerve-shatteringly suspenseful modern horror. Here he proves once again that he is one of the savviest and most accomplished horror writers around.. Elisabeth Moss delivers an outstanding performance as a woman teetering on the edge of reality and into insanity. Elsewhere, Michael Dorman gives a chillingly creepy performance as Adrian’s long suffering brother Tom.

This is a robustly acted and surprisingly engaging thriller which gets under the skin and stays there long after the credits have rolled. With frequent nods to James Whales’s iconic 1933 adaptation, this new incarnation of The Invisible Man delivers a lot more than is expected from it, which in this age of sequels, reboots and pointless reimaginings is rather impressive.


The Invisible Man is on general release from February 28

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