REVIEW: The Invisible Man - an anxious but riveting experience of unseen menace

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man - Credit: Archant

From horror studio Blumhouse, comes this original take on a literary classic, with an Oscar-worthy performance from Elizabeth Moss.

From horror studio Blumhouse, comes this modern interpretation of the classic H G Wells tale, written and directed by Australian film maker Leigh Whannell.

The film, originally intended to be part of Universal’s ill fated Dark universe, was to have starred Johnny Depp in the lead role. However the studio went back to the drawing board after The Mummy, the first film in the series, was a critical and commercial flop.

Whannell’s version wisely eschews the connected universe idea for a simpler, stand alone tale. Elizabeth Moss stars as Cecilia Kass, the abused girlfriend of tech genius Adrian Griffin. Who, upon escaping his clutches, hears of her boyfriend’s apparent suicide, inheriting his vast fortune in the process. Cecilia however, suspects his death to be a hoax and after a series of increasingly sinister coincidences, she attempts to prove to her disbelieving friends that she is, in fact, being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Whannell’s excellent script brings the story into the 21st century, and turns the attention onto Moss’s tormented Cecilia and her abusive relationship.

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The themes of domestic abuse and psychological manipulation are all too real, and by using technological advancements instead of magic potions the film is grounded in enough realism to give it an extra layer of authenticity.

The supporting roles are taken by Harriet Dyer as Cecilia’s Sister Emily, and Aldis Hodge and Storm Reid who play the friends offering her sanctuary. But this is undoubtedly Moss’s picture.

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The actress has received plaudits for her performance, and rightly so. She is outstanding and carries the film almost single handedly, while acting opposite almost nothing for most of the runtime.

As Cecilia begins to doubt her own sanity, she descends into a manic paranoia, followed by a steely resolve to face down her demon. It’s the convincing nature of Moss’s delivery that elevates the level of suspense, making the film an anxious but riveting experience.

The other facet to that, is the superb direction from Whannell. Simply by positioning the camera in a certain way, the Australian gives the impression of an unseen menace lurking in the shadows.

The score from composer Benjamin Wallfisch, helps to ramp up the atmosphere. A magnificently ominous soundtrack prone to sudden loud bursts, which complements the on edge nature of the experience perfectly.

Whannell’s Invisible man is a refreshingly original take on a literary classic. A superbly tense and modern psychological thriller with a raw and awards worthy turn from Elizabeth Moss as the film’s brave heroine.

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