The Invisible Man starring Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Storm Reid and Oliver Jackson-Cohen

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Movie: The Invisible Man

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions

Director: Leigh Whannell

Producers: Jason Blum, Kylie du Fresne

Scriptwriter: Leigh Whannell

Main Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman

Release Date: February 28, 2020 (US)

Running Time: 124 minutes

Certificate: 15


Sometimes movie studios really annoy me. Why? Well, whilst Blumhouse’s newest horror film, the Black Phone, is currently out, it won’t be in the UK until June. Damn. So, instead I’m reviewing another recent Blumhouse film: The Invisible Man. Whilst based on HG Wells novel of the same name, Leigh Whannell gives a classic story a new coat of paint. That metaphor got away from me… Anyway, here is my review of The Invisible Man film.


The film opens with Cecilia Kass (Moss), an architect, escaping from her controlling boyfriend’s, Adrian Griffin (Jackson-Cohen), house after drugging him with her diazepam. She manages to escape with the help of her sister Emily (Dyer). Sidenote, this is one of the best openings to a modern horror film.

After the escape/The tormenting begins

We then see Cecilia hiding in the home of her childhood friend, Detective James Lainer (Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Reid). Emily then comes to the house and tells Cecilia that Adrian is dead and that he left her $5 million. This is arranged by Adrian’s lawyer brother, Tom (Dorman). Despite Adrian’s death, Cecilia still experiences several strange events however James convinces her she is traumatized and paranoid. Great reinforcement by James there…

However, during a work interview Cecilia finds her work portfolio empty and faints. The doctor then tells her she has high levels of diazepam in her blood. Then to her shock and horror she finds the same bloody bottle of diazepam she used to drug Adrian in her bathroom. The plot begins to thicken…..

The attacks intensify

James then accompanies Cecilia to meet with Tom. She believes Adrian faked his death and is using his optics experience to become invisible. Why? To torment her. Anyway, Tom rebuffs this idea. Later, Sydney is hit by an unseen figure whilst comforting Cecilia. Naturally, James assumes that Cecilia hit her. This is due to her deteriorating mental state which causes James and Sydney to leave.

Desperate to prove someone is there tormenting her, she uses various tactics to catch the figure. She then hears something unusual. What is it? Adrian’s phone rings in the attic. She goes up to the attic and sees a text on his phone, surprise. She then dumps white paint down the attic entrance, revealing a previously invisible figure. A violent struggle then breaks out but she escapes.

How many Invisible Men are there?

Cecilia then returns to Adrian’s house where her suspicions are seemingly confirmed. Why? She finds a second invisible suit and hides it in their former bedroom’s wardrobe. Just after this, she is attacked again so she flees and contacts Emily. The two meet in a restaurant where the invisible figure cuts Emily’s throat and places the knife in Cecilia’s hand. This is getting mental and speaking of…

Cecilia is now awaiting trial in a psychiatric hospital where she learns two shocking things. One, she is pregnant with Adrian’s baby. Two, Tom can drop all the charges if she ‘returns to him’ and raises the child. This reveals another revelation: Tom might have helped stage Adrian’s suicide. Damn, this is starting to get intense… Anyway, Cecilia refuses the offer and steals his fountain pen. Great idea, let a seemingly mad person steal a pen…. Later that night, she fakes suicide in order to draw the invisible figure out which works. She then stabs him repeatedly, damaging the suit. Despite this, the figure escapes the security with Cecilia in pursuit. Then, to protect her unborn child the figure decides to hurt those closest to her. I wonder who the Invisible Man could be?

The final battle

Cecilia races to James’s house where she finds the Invisible Man attacking him and Sydney. She then shoots the figure, but to her shock it’s Tom in the suit. Even stranger, police then storm Adrian’s house and find him tied up in his basement. This suggests Tom killed Emily however Cecilia is desperate to prove Adrian used his brother as a fall guy. 

No seriously, how many Invisible Men are there?

To get Adrian’s confession, a freshly exonerated Cecilia agrees to wear a wire tap with James sitting a few blocks away. She then agrees to mend their relationship if he agrees that he killed Emily. Adrian still insists that he didn’t and that his experiences changed his outlook on life and how he treated her. That doesn’t sound that likely… After Adrian says ‘surprise’, Cecilia excuses herself. Moments later, cameras capture Adrian slitting his own throat. Cecilia then runs back in and calls 911, clearly distraught. Yet as she’s leaving, she looks at Adrian coldly and taunts him. This all but confirms she used the spare bodysuit to kill him. Furthermore, James then arrives and she confirms everything that the camera showed. However, despite James seeing Cecilia carrying the suit he allows her to leave. Sequel bait much?


The Opening Sequence of the Invisible Man

To begin my analysis, I’m going to start with the opening sequence of the film and how it creates fear in the audience. First of all, the opening is taking place at 2am so there are plenty of shadows and a lack of natural light. This adds a level of fear, as one missed step could lead to the discovery of her escape. Yet, what really elevates this opening to one of the best is the lack of a score.

Taking place in near silence with the occasional amplified kick of a dog bowl or the car alarm being set off causes genuine fear in the audience. Also, watching this opening back just reinforces how often the lack of sound can be far scarier than a constantly present score. In addition, the cinematography sets the tone for the film with a lot of POV tracking shots creating the illusion that we are stalking Cecilia, rather than Adrian, Tom or both. I just want to know how many invisible men there were…

Cecilia and Adrian’s Relationship

The next part of my Invisible Man analysis is Cecilia and if Adrian was involved in the tormenting. Firstly, Elisabeth Moss puts in an excellent performance as Cecilia. Secondly, Oliver Jackson-Cohen continues his trend of great performances in horror media. Also, the film’s ending almost seems to subvert horror fans’ expectations. How? Well, with a lot of horror films there is often a second killer, insert Scream joke here, but with the Invisible Man it’s a lot more uncertain. This is because despite there being two suits, we only get confirmation of Tom ever wearing the suit.

Moreover, this makes Adrian’s ‘suicide’ seem more grey as Cecilia gets revenge for all that he put her through. However, Whannell deliberately plants a seed of doubt as he knows the audience expects Adrian to say he was the killer. This either means he was telling the truth (that he wasn’t in the suit) or that he lied denying the audience and Cecilia the satisfaction of knowing if he was the killer. Great stuff there.

Cinematography in the Invisible Man

Furthermore, the final part of my Invisible Man analysis is the camera work and it affects the audience. As I alluded to in the paragraph on the opening sequence, a lot of the Invisible Man’s camera shots are POV’s. This has two main effects. The first is it mimics Cecilia’s, and by extension the audience, vision. Also, the second one is it keeps the audience and Cecilia guessing. The first point is also shown during the hospital scene where Cecilia attempts to draw the Invisible Man in. This is especially true when she starts to stab the Invisible Man’s suit.

So, where is the second point seen? When James and Sydney leave Cecilia alone in his house. As I said previously, fantastic work by James there…. Anyway, the camera slowly sweeps around the room with Whannell playing on horror expectations again. This is because normally the killer would perform a jump scare here. Yet, Whannell manages to resist. So, good job there. Oh, also a lot of your appreciation for this film will depend on how much you enjoy POV camera shots of ‘nothing’.


To conclude, The Invisible Man is a great horror which uses the fear of being watched to terrify the audience and Cecilia. So, until the inevitable Invisible Woman film (No, not that one Marvel) remember the film’s eerie tagline ‘what you can’t see can hurt you’…. 

Content Warning: Strong bloody violence, strong language

Target Audience: 18+

Recommendation: Yes