Rental Review: The Invisible Man

Though The Invisible Man starts strong as a ghostly horror film, there is a certain trope of the “she crazy” variety that is just unpleasant enough to me that a large section of the film isn’t exactly the most enjoyable to watch. And though there’s still plenty of positives here, the movie never fully wins me back over.

Basic Synopsis: Elisabeth Moss fights skeptical friends and someone who may or may not be there at any moment for two hours.

First Things First: In all fairness to her friends, I don’t know if I’d believe that someone faked their own death, gave away their fortune, and learned how to go invisible all to torment someone either. But tell me your dead abuser’s ghost is haunting you and I’ll happily call the exorcist.

Brief Thoughts: This is one of those movies with a trailer that gives too much away, and though I’m all for a movie revealing the truth to its story early on, the psychological element of the unknown was fun to experience for the first 25 or 30 minutes of the film. The quiet stillness of some scenes, the composition of shots showing more of the space around the actors, the camera panning over to an area long before the action moves there, it was in these moments where the tension was strongest, and I found myself holding my breath as I waited for something, anything, to give the titular character up. And then the trailer moments started happening. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some amazing moments that truly made me gasp, and I would love to see how certain confrontational scenes were shot, but there came a point where most, if not all, of the magic brought on by the unknown was lost as the movie transitions from suspense to action mode.

Biggest Complaint: Unfortunately, I just don’t enjoy watching people being gaslit. Now I will say Moss’s Cecilia is surrounded by a pretty supportive few, and Alexis Hodge’s James does his best to be understanding of all she has gone through in a way that is honestly pretty rational and comforting, but he still doesn’t truly believe what she says. And no matter how warranted his actions are in the film, this is just a typical path to these horror films that I usually find rather frustrating. It’s just not enjoyable for me to watch someone be abandoned by their support system as their life spirals out of control, and maybe had this section been a bit more truncated I would’ve been more invested in what came next.

Favorite Line: “You’re just the jellyfish version of him.” BURN.

Let’s Talk About That Ending (Spoilers): I don’t know how to feel about this ending. On the one hand, I was so excited that Cecilia FINALLY put the suit on herself to take down her abuser, but there was just something with how this scene plays out that left me feeling far less triumphant than I should have. Her doing to Adrian what he did to her sister was poetic, and had it ended there with Cecilia throwing the suit into a fire I would’ve been more than ok with it. But her interactions with James afterwards turned her into the creepy murderer abusing the relationship she has with her friend, victoriously walking away with an invisibility suit to do what with exactly? What reason does she have for keeping that other than to become the villain in a sequel?

Last but Not Least: Does the Dog Survive the Film (Spoilers for Doggo)?: Yes! But I will never forgive Cecilia for abandoning Zeus with her abuser multiple times. Had she taken him with her maybe people would’ve actually believed there was someone else in the room with them when she said there was.

Final Thoughts: Though there is a lot to like about The Invisible Man (you may not guess it based on what I wrote, but I was bouncing between a 3 or 3.5 out of 5 rating on Letterboxd immediately after finishing the film – I settled on a 3 upon reflection), the issues I have with it mean that it’s a solid movie that I don’t really want to watch again. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Additional Listening: If you want a second and third opinion on The Invisible Man, Ben and Zac did a podcast episode discussing it. Click here to be taken to that post!

And be sure to tell me all your thoughts on The Invisible Man in the comments below or over on twitter, where you can find me at BewareOfTrees.

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