The Invisible Man Critics’ Review: Sci-Fi Horror But All too Real

The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis, Hodge and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

2 min read
Elisabeth Moss in a still from <i>The Invisible Man</i>.

The Invisible Man is an adaptation of the eponymous HG Wells novel and a reboot of the film series of the same name. The sci-fi horror follows a woman who is convinced she is being stalked by her abusive partner though he is believed to be dead. Directed by Leigh Whannell, it stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis, Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

Here’s what critics have to say about the film:

“With his ingenious updating of ‘The Invisible Man’, writer-director Leigh Whannell changes perspective from the mad scientist to the terrified victim he’s stalking, which effectively turns the film into ‘Gaslight’ with a horror twist. And with an actress of Elisabeth Moss’ caliber in the lead role, the film has a psychological realism that’s unusual for the genre, with Moss playing a woman who’s withstanding a form of domestic abuse that may have a supernatural component, but feels sickeningly familiar in many respects.”
Scott Tobias, NPR
“Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (‘Upgrade’, ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’), The Invisible Man showcases the filmmaker’s ability to create high tension and slick, visceral action. Whannell plays with empty frames of the film to build suspense and turn every empty space into a potential threat hiding the monster of the Invisible Man. When the action ratchets up and Cecilia and Adrian come to blows, Whannell’s direction works best when it puts viewers in Cecilia shoes - and worst when his stark shots highlight some unfortunate CGI. For the most part, though, the Invisible Man and his fights with fully visible characters are seamless and uncomfortably realistic.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant
“The traumatic power of Moss’s performance is that she acts out the convulsive desperation and rage of a woman who is being terrorised and, at the same time, totally not believed about it, even by those closest to her. ‘The Invisible Man’ is a social horror film grounded in a note-perfect metaphor. It’s the story of a woman who got sucked into a whirlpool of abuse and now finds that she can’t free herself, because the abuse remains (literally) out of sight. She’s every woman who’s ever had to fight to be heard because her ordeal wasn’t ‘visible’.”
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Moss’s full-bore performance – anchored by her extraordinarily supple face – gives the movie its emotional stakes. The figure of the imperilled woman tends to be irresistible, but you need to care about the character, too, really share her worries and her terrors. With her high forehead, prominent jawline and eyes that can pop or menacingly narrow, Moss has an ideal big-screen canvas, one she fills with subtle fluctuations that let you follow Cecilia’s inner states even when she goes quiet. Directors like to over-pump Moss’s tears (she’s a real sob sister), but here the waterworks don’t gush, which complicates the idea of Cecilia as a hapless victim.”
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

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