I don’t really do horror movies. They don’t mix well with my brainspace. But I DID eventually pluck up the courage to watch 2020’s The Invisible Man, after a bit of research as to what exactly it entailed. Here are five thoughts about it. Big spoilers under the poster…
1. Casting Elisabeth Moss in this was GENIUS. Everyone knows her from The Handmaid’s Tale, a show where her character is constantly oppressed and brutalised and treated as a baby-making machine. So we don’t need to see Cecilia’s past abuse at the hands of Adrian because there’s a sense in which we’ve already seen it.
2. There are a few plot holes in this movie. Not enough to ruin it, not at all, but there were some things that made me go “???” Like at the restaurant where Emily is killed, that place would almost definitely have CCTV, surely a tape would show that Cecilia didn’t do it? But it’s never even mentioned. Neither is the phone in the attic and it really bugged me that never came up.
(Also, by all accounts an invisibility suit like the one in the movie is physically impossible since you’d need a cooler and a way to breathe. And even if you solved those problems you would probably stink to high heaven, enough to alert anyone of your presence.)
3. I LOVED the tiny callbacks to the original Invisible Man. Sydney’s fashion mannequin with the top hat looks like the version from the book (I think? I recognised the look, anyway) and the patient in the hospital with the bandages looked like the more traditional movie depiction of him.
4. I did actually scream at the main jumpscare. I scream at horror movies… kinda a lot. It was the bit when Cecilia is in the attic and she throws the paint and the Invisible Man is right in front of her. (Apparently this was featured heavily in the trailers but I missed them all.) It wasn’t so much the shock of seeing something (the suit) which looked so alien but the goddamn NOISE it made. It was like a demonic hiss. Scared the life out of me.
5. This is such a great movie about gaslighting and why you should believe abuse victims. (Someone on TVTropes pointed out that Adrian literally gaslights Cecilia. He turns the gas up and flickers the lights on and off.) Yes Cecilia’s story is outlandish, but not outside the realms of possibility – people are working on invisibility technology right now – but no-one takes her seriously or bothers to check Adrian’s creepy lab-house or anything. I’m reminded here of a pretty high-profile British case from a few years ago – no-one believed the victim, but she was telling the truth.
The awful thing about the ending to this movie is, even after everything Cecilia’s been through it’s still not a happy one. Yes she’s free but her sister is still dead, her best friend probably will never see her in the same light again, Sydney’s college fund is gone… Honestly I think she would have quietly gotten an abortion and then just fallen off the face of the earth.