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Review: The triumph of The Invisible Man is something that no-one could see coming




Loosely based on HG Wells’ classic sci-fi novel, Saw creator Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man concerns itself more with the partner of the eponymous scientist, who takes a back seat in the original.

Whannell updates the source material into an unexpectedly creepy horror-thriller, which benefits from Elisabeth Moss’s assured and committed performance.

Moss (who has a penchant for playing psychologically disturbed characters) is consistently engaging as Cecilia, the wife of an abusively controlling optics scientist (Oliver Jackson-Turner) from whom she flees after years of torment and exploitation.

Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass in The Invisible Man
Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass in The Invisible Man

Yet after a series of seemingly supernatural events, Cecilia suspects that she is being stalked by her husband who has figured out a way to become invisible. Or is she losing her sanity?

By placing Cecilia at the centre of the film, Whannell takes a refreshingly inventive perspective on the original that opens up the opportunity for genuine scares and thrills.

The very real fear of abusive partners and stalkers is aptly conveyed by Whannel and Moss, underlying dramatic set pieces that inspire dread, shocks and jump-scares in equal measure.

Aldis Hodge as James Lanier in The Invisible Man
Aldis Hodge as James Lanier in The Invisible Man

Further to this, a perpetual sense of paranoia is built into the fabric of the film: the camera lingers on empty doorways and the soundtrack hints at an unseen presence even when Cecilia is in the safest of places. It seems that The Invisible Man will be the definitive horror film of the #MeToo era.

This sense of paranoia is perhaps lost in the final act as the increasingly convoluted narrative takes centre-stage, but the real-life horrors of relationship abuse and gaslighting make this thriller truly scary.

Following 2017 flop The Mummy, this latest Dark Universe reboot exceeds expectations. The triumph of The Invisible Man is something that no-one could see coming.

Star rating: ****


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