Have you ever felt like someone was watching you, even though you were completely alone? This innate fear is what The Invisible Man plays off to create an intense and distressing atmosphere during the entire movie. While it may share its name with H.G. Wells’ original story, this is a very different and completely modernized take on this character. However, does The Invisible Man use its terrifying concept to the fullest?
The plot follows the main character Cecilia, who has escaped from her abusive and manipulative boyfriend Adrian, as she’s tormented by an unseen force. Adrian committed suicide after she left him, but Cecilia thinks that he’s tormenting her. Cecilia starts being drugged, having items taken from her, and her relationships with friends and family ruined. However, this is when she goes on the offensive to try and find her attacker. The movie doesn’t do anything too outrageous with its ideas, but it does try to keep things somewhat realistic, as well as emotionally grounded from Cecilia’s point of view.
While it’s up in the air whether The Invisible Man is connected to the 2017 Mummy remake, as Universal originally planned to connect their monsters in the Dark Universe, the movie is largely different tonally. Instead of being a big blockbuster, it mainly focuses on its horror aspect, which the film nails. Shots are generally positioned with lots of open space away from the characters, making the viewer question if the Invisible Man is in the room at that time. Silence is also used very well in tense scenes. Rather than having a score building up to tension, many times there will be no music at all. If there’s one thing that this movie nails, it’s that feeling of unease on if the Invisible Man is present.
However, there are a few glaring issues with the movie, and they aren’t small. Cecilia is a poised as a smart main character, but makes a lot of stupid mistakes that cost her later in the movie. Some actions are out of her hands, but there are many where if she explained calmly what happened, or would bring up important details, it would help her stop the Invisible Man.
The last act of the movie also has a lot of problems, but I won’t delve deep into them because of spoilers. However, it involves the movie almost changing genres into a thriller or action movie, as well as revealing some things that drastically recontextualize earlier parts of the film.
The Invisible Man stands as a solid adaptation and horror movie that could have been great, but fails to stick the landing. There are some good ideas and interesting story beats, but it’s finale upends many of those things. It also is dragged down by the unexplained poor choices made by characters, and its mess of an ending. It’s still a good watch, but just not as great as it could have been.