The Invisible Man Review: A twist you won’t see coming

The Invisible Man, photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions
The Invisible Man, photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions /

The amount of information in the trailers does rob The Invisible Man of some of its punch, but they still managed to save a few major surprises.

The Invisible Man arrived in theaters this weekend and both critics and fans are loving it. At the time of this writing, the movie has a 90% or higher rating from both groups on Rotten Tomatoes. Many were upset by how much was shown in the trailers, but despite this, The Invisible Man managed to deliver great surprises, tension, and an amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss.

I have to admit that I was among those worried that the trailers showed too much. For the first hour of the movie, this appeared to be the case. I heard others in the theater reacting to several moments that I had been robbed of by the various trailers. Because of this, I would strongly advise against watching any. With that said, the second half of The Invisible Man is so good that it made up for every moment I had been robbed of.

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Elisabeth Moss is stunning

If we’re going to discuss why The Invisible Man was great, we’d be remiss to not mention Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale). She has made a living being a woman who is under the thumb of powerful men until she isn’t, and her role in The Invisible Man is no different.

Here, that man is her husband. He’s a leader in optical technology and has controlled her entire life. The movie begins with her character, Cecilia, trying to escape from his grasp. From the very beginning, we can see she is afraid but she is also determined to escape and has a plan. Later in the film, we can see how paranoid she is about her husband coming for her. At least she seems paranoid to the outside world.

Her sister’s (ex?) husband, James (Aldis Hodge, Brian Banks), is a cop and he is supportive of her and takes her in. He and his daughter, Sydney (Storm Reid, A Wrinkle in Time), work to bring some normalcy back to her life. For a brief moment, Cecilia gets to be a relaxed and fun character, but then things start happening.

Her intensity increases once she starts to believe her husband is not dead and is invisible and torturing her. She plays this fragile and fearful character until it’s time to shift to anger and determination to defeat him. Moss’s range was key in pulling off this role and she does so masterfully. You believe her at every point.

Invisibile man Aldis hodge
The Invisible Man, photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions /

Tension throughout the movie

Though I was robbed of some specific moments by the revealing trailers, The Invisible Man manages to remain tense throughout. When your villain is invisible, they can be anywhere at any time. To make the most of this the film plays around with the sounds and the camera to get you to listen and look in areas that aren’t necessarily the focus of the shot.

For example, there’s a scene where Moss’s character is in a room walking back and forth putting clothes away and the camera moves from one side to the other with her. At one point, the camera stays on a particular side after she leaves it. I found myself looking at the curtains, the chair, the clothes, to see if I could see anything moving. Then I began to wonder if the point of view we’re watching her from is that of Adrian himself. This use of camera work was brilliantly executed.

While there are a few jump scares, there are no cheap ones. You feel comfortable being paranoid because the main character is and you both have reason to be. Things happen suddenly and forcefully, which takes us to the next section.

invisible man
The Invisible Man, photo courtesy Blumhouse Productions /

Plenty of surprises

Again, there are moments in the trailer that would have been effective scares in The Invisible Man had they not been revealed. None of these ended up still being effective for me, but almost all of them take place within the first hour. In the second hour, things get very real very suddenly. Adrian only does the playful things initially and ratchets things up in a stunning way.

You will know exactly what I’m talking about when it happens and there will be audible reactions in the audience. He wastes no time taking it even further and this second big surprise was jaw-dropping. Again, amazingly executed, and you’ll know what I’m talking about when this happens as well. These surprises were enhanced because they were things the villain did that thankfully weren’t shown, or even teased, in the trailers.

One of the things I was holding out for with The Invisible Man was the prospect of a major twist and it delivered. The movie does a lot of foreshadowing so, while there are a few twists, you can’t say it pulled these twists out of nowhere. I won’t say more than that on this topic to keep this spoiler-free.

The Invisible Man is a great addition to the horror genre. Technology allowed it to do things that we hadn’t necessarily seen before. Adrian was more of a supervillain than just a bad guy. The action sequences were strong and the invisibility made them that much more intense. The scene in the mental health facility alone was well worth the price of admission.

We all know that a horror movie can be made or broken by its ending. In the case of The Invisible Man, I would say that the ending was perfect. I promised no spoilers so I won’t say more than that. You’ll just have to… see for yourself.

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The Invisible Man is now available in theaters.