The golden nugget any good horror story needs is a monster that reflects some broader human fear. “The Invisible Man”, despite ultimately becoming more of a creepy science fiction film than an outright horror, plays with the creeping sensations of being watched by something you can’t see and, even worse, can’t defend yourself against.
While certainly not a perfect film, “The Invisible Man” nails it’s premise, delivering exactly what it promises.
When Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) leaves her abusive tech-mogul boyfriend Adrian, which leads to his suicide, her life takes a turn for the strange. Things move on their own, go missing, footprints appear out of nowhere. As things slowly turn violent, Cecilia begins to suspect she may not be as free from Adrian as she thought.
The plot goes deeper than that, but the twists and turns the film takes, while never mind blowing, are entertaining and add some complexity to an otherwise simple story.
There are only two glaring faults in the film. The first is that the acting is all around pretty bland outside of Moss. However, for all the slack her costars drop, Moss manages to pick it up and carry it admirably.
Her twitchy, exhausted performance gives the story a real emotional anchor. Another hallmark of great horror is when it brings a real world parallel to its otherworldly scares. For as much “The Invisible Man” is about an invisible man doing evil things invisibly, it’s also about abuse and the way it can destroy a person.
It’s a clever film, and it executes its scares subtly. The pacing is spot on, with each sequence of things going bump in the night turning the spooky knob up just the right amount.
That is, until the third act. Things take a sudden turn for the loud and bloody in the last 30 minutes, and while none of it is objectively bad or able to derail the movie as a whole, it does seem at odds with the measured scares of the rest of the movie.
But as a whole package, that complaint falls mostly by the wayside. Held together by a solid lead performance and mostly effective scares which are bolstered further by competent visuals and a moody score, “The Invisible Man” ends up being a pretty good time.