The Invisible Man ★★★

"He came up with the perfect way to torture you even in death. Only thing more brilliant than inventing something that makes you invisible is not inventing it, but making you think he did."

A nifty, #MeToo-inflected adaptation of one of the horror genre's most well-known tales, Leigh Whannell's THE INVISIBLE MAN is an effective little thriller that explores the classic 'woman in trouble' trope through the prism of domestic violence and gaslighting.

At its best, Whannell's film is a commentary on society's maltreatment of female victims. The palpable terror of escaping from a tormentor, only to then have your experiences dismissed and invalidated, even by friends and family, is what drives the drama and suffocates central character Cecilia (played brilliantly by Elisabeth Moss, whose facial expressions alone are enough to carry the film through some of its weaker moments), leaving her to question her own sanity as she is isolated from those she loves.

The metaphors here are obvious but when they play out in a genre that has always been much more feminist in design than its detractors would have you believe, they are utilised to great effect. Whannell's film is one in which people are willing to believe that abusers are victims and victims are insane and untrustworthy to the point that even the audience is forced to question, at least for a while, whether what we know to be true is but a ruse, a trick, or a desperate cry for attention.

The terror and frustration Cecilia experiences mirrors the very real experiences of women across the world who are endlessly made to feel guilty for the suffering they have endured, and who often fall back into the arms of abusers because the system has failed them. Cecilia's descent into apparent madness as she battles against a terror that no-one else can see might be unsubtle but it has real impact and while the film sometimes leans a little too heavily into mindless cat-and-mouse horror nonsense and could absolutely do with a decent trim, it does a solid job of highlighting how abuse and subsequent gaslighting can cause such fervent dread.


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