Content Warning: domestic abuse, gaslighting.
The Invisible Man: a true psychological thriller. With twists and turns abundant, the film is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire runtime.
Elisabeth Moss gives a gripping performance and forges a sympathetic character that the audience can easily relate to. Her raw talent offers an insight into the struggles of someone in an abusive, controlling relationship and demonstrates the truly devastating effects of gaslighting.
Moss’s intensity of facial expression and demeanour aid to immerse the audience in a taught emotional atmosphere, intensified by incredible use of makeup and costume throughout that effectively illustrate her mental deterioration. From fearful and tired to haggard and traumatised, Moss becomes almost possessed in her mania.
The chronology ominously builds from Moss being gaslighted, to isolation from her family and then eventually being relentlessly pursued by an invisible assailant, which leads her to be labelled as mentally insane. This adaptation of the H.G Wells’s classic novel is rooted in our time, where the fight against domestic abuse still rages on, and thus the horrifying story is just as impactful as ever.
A terrifying sci-fi horror attempting to respectfully deal with the difficult themes at hand risks being inadvertently inappropriate or even disrespectful, yet thankfully this is not the case. Instead, the film and its meanings are intelligent and skilfully delivered. I interpreted The Invisible Man as an attempt to show how ongoing psychological effects on individuals who have suffered abuse are truly horrifying, and that the trauma they undergo remains manifest and present with them throughout life. This is no cheap jump-scare rollercoaster, it is horror laced with metaphors and ingenuity, and the final product is both chilling and profound.
Impressively, the film manages to capture the cumulative effects of abusive relationships and how it is often a long-term ongoing process, all within a couple hours of runtime. Leigh Whannel, equipped with a relatively low budget and a desire to produce something extraordinary, has succeeded in creating an eye-opening account of the depths of abuse.
This is a cinematic masterpiece with ambitious use of symbolism on multiple levels. Pertinent and relevant, The Invisible Man scarily conveys the dangers of domestic abuse, the tragic effects of doubting innocent victims, and highlights the need for a compassionate society.
Image: nangreenly via Pixabay