Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man

It takes a lot to make a truly effective horror film these days. Between fan desensitization, cynicism, employment of rampant jump scares and gore the genre often has a tendency to go off track. And then there are efforts like Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which is not only an unbearably suspenseful, well drawn shocker with a stunning lead performance from Elizabeth Moss but a beautifully crafted, simplistic yet hard hitting piece of filmmaking. Moss is Cecilia, who makes a daring, hair raising escape from her evil, abusive husband Adrian (Oliver Jackson Cohen) in an atmospheric opening sequence that sets the tone nicely. Adrian later kills himself… or does he? Considering just how nuts this guy is and how far he was willing to go to control his wife, it isn’t a stretch to believe that he’d fake his death and start stalking her like the repulsive creep he is. It doesn’t help that he’s also a millionaire optics innovator with the skills and money to build a suit that renders him invisible. It’s a lean, mean concept that has endless potential for tense, highly uneasy scenes and that’s exactly what we get. Cecilia is in a tricky spot because everyone thinks he’s dead and only she knows him well enough to believe he’d go to those lengths to keep making life miserable for her. We feel her hopelessness as each scenario plays out and when she’s finally had enough and decides to fight back… boy do we ever feel that too. Moss is utterly fantastic, never playing up drama or going into scream queen territory but rather making Cecilia a resilient, believable tough cookie that we feel for and root for. The first half of the film is the most effective, when Adrian is subtly haunting her and playing cruel tricks from beyond her field of vision, despite being right there in the room with her. The original score from Benjamin Wallfisch is a terrifying, dread filled piece that mimics the sound of blood rushing in one’s ears when confronted with danger, anxiety or trauma bubbling up. Like I said it takes a lot in a horror film to truly get to me these days, but this one pulled it off. As I left the theatre and headed home I felt like someone or something unseen was watching me, and no film has had that effect of following me out of the cinema since… well since It Follows. One of the best horror films of the past decade or so.

-Nate Hill

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