‘The Invisible Man’ Review: Terror Unseen

The Invisible Man

Do you know that feeling you get when you’re alone? That creeping sensation that crawls up the back of your neck. Like someone breathing on you? How you can’t help but feel like someone, or something, is there with you? Imagine that thing is a murderous psychopath, and because you can’t prove it exists, everyone around starts thinking you’re insane.

Feeling scared yet?

Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (“Upgrade”) “The Invisible Man” stars Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Coliver, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Michael Dorman. With the suicide of her abusive ex-husband, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) inherits his fortune but remains convinced that he’s still alive, watching her every step. When strange happenings take a dangerous and deadly turn, Cecilia must prove the man no one can see exists.

This. Movie. Friggin. Rocks. Full stop.

Finally! It’s been so long since we’ve had an honest to goodness great classic movie-monster flick, and a man though he may be, make no mistake about it: this invisible individual is as monstrous as any werewolf or vampire. This modern retelling of the H.G. Well’s classic is a slick, cool horror movie that will have you checking the empty corners of your home.

Writer-director Leigh Whannell crafts a taut psychological horror story with a fully dimensionalized world capable of sustaining the conceit of invisibility and turns it into a nightmare force. By now, invisibility is an aged concept.

From “The Hollow Man” to “The Incredibles” In other words, going invisible is old-hat. However, through the use of fanciful science-fiction imaginings and masterful manipulation of negative space, the Invisible Man himself not only becomes relevant again but also scary.

Empty space becomes a dread demon-scape, fermenting us in silent, pulse-pounding anticipation. The absence of sound keeps the viewer in a sustained state of white-knuckle tension. Never before has a vacant room made me clench so tightly.

Rather than focus on the man of science, Leigh concentrates on the woman who suffers under him. Elizabeth Moss destroys this role. She beautifully navigates the terrain of a battered woman made to endure under the thumb of a sociopathic control-freak.

The film delicately examines the soul-shattering effects of abuse. How even in death, the memory of an abuser can leave someone shackled to the walls of their mind, petrified in place.

The action only deepens the film’s emotional undercurrent, at once exciting and frightening, Leigh’s action sensibilities distinguishing a distinctive and refreshing feel. The camera moves in a free-hand expression that maintains composure and virtuosity of the fray without resorting to shaky-cam babble.

The filmmakers have their cake and eat it too. One minute, the action thrills as The Invisible Man makes mincemeat of armed guards. The next, your stomach turns as you watch someone beaten bloody, rag-dolled, at the mercy of their imperceptible assailant.

Gorgeously constructed and encompassed by beautiful cinematography and a haunting score, “The Invisible Man” is a bull-whip return to form for the legendary phantasm whose mark is unlikely to vanish from the forefront of your psyche.

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