The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man

Paranoia, dread, technology, abuse, and fear. Add in a riveting character story, a brilliant game of cat & mouse, and you have the genius recipe that is Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man.

While everyone knows some form of the Invisible Man story, this is a remake that surpasses every film before it. Using the same ingredients of the previous iterations, our unseen specter is given an expanded character backstory that is one of the best horror, thriller, suspense films ever made. But why is it so good?

The Story

Living in Fear

Where most films have their story unfold in a predictable manner, The Invisible Man withholds information then presents it to you later. This helps you become attached to the main character, and feel her isolation buildup throughout the film.

It all starts with Cecilia sneaking out of her house from her abusive husband. Kept in isolation in a fully locked down home, her husband is very much her captor. So when she decides to escape, she is extremely cautious in every step she takes. Once she’s picked up by her friend she attempts to remain in hiding from him. But to her surprise, a man suddenly comes forward to tell her about her husband’s passing, and that is is now left with millions in inheritance.

Cat & Mouse

Following this inheritance, her sigh of relief is short lived. As strange things begin to happen around her. What initially begins as a feeling of elation develops into a strong paranoia. But the paranoia only gets worse as an invisible force causes harm to those around her, leaving Cecilia in the wake of each event. Soon enough, her friends lose trust in her, and it Cecilia is seemingly driven into madness. Did she actually do these horrible things? How is this even happening? Who’s really behind these events unfolding?

From here on, she’s suspected as being on the fritz following her marital escape, perhaps even damaged by the abuse she’s received in the past. When the cops get involved, things only worse as the facts come together. Only when new information suddenly comes to light does she finally know the truth, and you can’t help but wonder how she’ll find her way out of it.

The Tension

The Fear is Real

What separates The Invisible Man from your standard thriller is the unyielding tension. When you feel like Cecilia can breath again, it’s really just a time for things to develop into the next major event. This fosters an intelligent type of dread that is rare amongst films. But when you think of the great writing of Leigh Whannell (Saw, Upgrade, Insidious) the film feels like a mastery of many themes coming into one film.

From the very beginning, you can feel Cecilia’s fear during her escape. But even once she’s escaped, that fear does not go away. At certain moments when things feel safe, they somehow don’t. Consuming your mind slowly with a sense of paranoia and trepidation. Elisabeth Moss and Oliver Jackson-Cohen do an amazing job of playing well off of each other. Whenever they interact onscreen, you feel their inescapable history. Even when they’re apart, you get the idea that they’re never out of each other’s minds. And it really shows!

Love or Obsession?

Much of the success surrounding the tension building also lies in the camera work, which provides a hyper focused (even predatory) perspective on Cecilia. Every time she feels like she’s being watched, you feel like you’re part of the predatory practice taking place. The cold colors of the film help you connect with her isolation as well. Then you have the camera shots that are clearly following the Invisible Man moving through the environment. The camera work here is so clever, it’s especially unique in comparison to other great films. Such as Harry Potter whenever he utilizes the cloak.

Invisible Man in the Rain

Hard to See, Harder to Find

Then of course, you have the sound design. Often going from silence to an ominous orchestral score, then back to a quiet environment. This adds yet another layer to the presentation. This cumulative leveraging of the camera movement, visual framing, clever sound design, believable acting, and color palette really add a lot to the film’s tension. You can easily imagine and feel Cecilia’s experience throughout the story.

The Themes

Is Anyone there?

What makes the film so memorable is more than it’s production and atmosphere. The Invisible Man is a great play on our fear of being watched (scopophobia). Despite Cecilia’s sudden wealth or even being surrounded by a room full of people, she is never safe. You quickly realize the importance of friends, family, sanity, and the overall sense that it’s vital to be in control of your own life.

Watching Cecilia, you quickly realize how important these things are to her. Living in a beautiful home like a golden cage, watching her best years escape her, she is very much a cage bird wishing to be free. Only by taking it upon herself will she find her freedom. And when you’re up against an invisible enemy, you’re up against a challenge that requires every part of your being to overcome it. Cecilia very much represents what we want for ourselves and our loved ones. A fierce, steadfast attitude that despite the impossible circumstances is ready to do what she must succeed. That is something we can all get behind!

A Solid FilmInvisible Man Appears

The invisible man

From the great acting, to the smart camera work, to the relatable story. This film absolutely touches your soul. Leigh Whannell and crew play with fear like masters, weaving a dark tale that will glue you to your seat.

I’d love to say more about the film but I want to avoid spoiling some of it’s greatest moments. If you enjoy amazing horror thrillers, then The Invisible Man is well worth your time. And once the curtains close, you’re left with a lot to walk away with and ponder.

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Invisible Man Technology