THE INVISIBLE MAN
“He controlled how I looked and… what I wore and what I ate. And… then it was controlling when I left the house and… what I said. And eventually… what I thought.”
Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) finally breaks free of controlling and abusive Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a “world leader in the field of optics” (a news article refers to him as an “optics groundbreaker”), leading to his apparent suicide.
Which is, of course, not where this story ends…
“He was always going to find you no matter what he had to do. He needs you because you don’t need him. No one’s ever left him before.”
Like writer/director Leigh Whannell’s ¡Qué horror! 2019 Candidate, Upgrade, The Invisible Man isn’t straight-forward horror. It’s peppered with strands of action, as well as another genre that would be telling if I revealed here. (Given the source material however, it should be fairly obvious.)
Suffice it to say, though, that, as with his performance on Upgrade, Whannell proves equal to the challenging task of juggling the varied tones and influences to produce a title that manages to successfully mine the tension of empty space, cannily making us wary of what, to the casual observer, would be the bland and painfully ordinary domestic geometries of a corridor, or a doorway, or a chair.
We don’t need to see the monster here for it to scare us, the beast ultimately becoming all the more frightening for being unseen.
“This is what he does. He makes me feel like I’m the crazy one. This is… this is what he does.
“And he’s doing it again.”
The Invisible Man is a terrifying metaphor for the institutionalized travails women suffer at the hands of men (whether “narcissist sociopaths” or just plain, ordinary chauvinists).
It’s all here: the blind eyes and the deaf ears, turned away from the apparently “hysterical” and “unstable”; the sense that no one believes anything that’s said, that no one’s even willing to listen, much less listen with an open mind.
By cutting down to the core idea--men are capable of the most horrendous things when unseen by others--Whannell gives H. G. Wells’ more-than-120 year old novel a smart, and much-needed 21st century Me Too, heh, upgrade.
(The Invisible Man OS’ courtesy of impawards.com.)