“The Invisible Man” an ethereal horror-hit

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Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

We all know that spine-tingling sensation when you are lying in bed and you begin to feel like you are not alone. 

The hair on the back of your neck stands upright. You slowly open your eyes and, careful not to make a sound, turn your head towards a closet lit only by a faint glow from a streetlight, and see a mysterious figure. 

Your heart begins to pound. Are you actually alone? 

Your eyes remain fixed on the figure. You tell yourself that you are being silly, that it’s just your coat or something. Your heart pounds all the same. 

Finally, you snap. You leap out of bed, rush to the lights, flip them on and sharply turn to your closet, only to discover that it was simply your jacket all along. 

You breathe a sigh of relief, turn the lights off and go back to bed. 

H.G. Wells, perhaps better than any other author, captured that feeling in his book “The Invisible Man” in 1897, the inspiration for writer and director Leigh Whannell’s new film of the same title. 

Whannell first made a name for himself in horror cinema when he and prolific director James Wan released their shoestring-budget hit “Saw” in 2004. Ever since, Whannell has been hard at work in the horror film industry, collaborating with Wan on the first two “Insidious” films, and taking the reins of the franchise for the third and fourth entries. 

Many thought that Whannell simply had a knack for writing intriguing and well developed horror scripts, but in “The Invisible Man,” Whannell shows himself to be a writer and director of the highest caliber as he crafts this nearly perfect sci-fi horror thriller.

The audience is introduced to Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), a woman who has been the victim of an abusive relationship with Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a millionaire who found his fortune in the graphics industry. 

Griffin, a genius sociopath who takes control of every aspect of Kass’ life, has become so abusive that Kass finally works up the courage to escape his mansion. 

After she flees her oppressor and is safe with her friends, she learns that Griffin has taken his own life apparently out of grief. Finally feeling free, Kass begins to regain her confidence and overcome the trauma she incurred in their relationship. 

However, as strange things begin to happen, Kass comes to the conclusion that Griffin never really died, but simply found a new way to torment and control her. 

Her friends, as supportive and loving as they are, have a hard time accepting what Kass has concluded, so she is forced to try to perilously prove to them that Griffin has become The Invisible Man. 

“The Invisible Man” is one of the most effective horror/thrillers to make its way to the big screen in quite some time, thanks to its truly first-rate direction, authentic performances and a solid, simple premise that does not fail to frighten all audiences. 

Moss is fantastic as Kass, completely embodying the aura of a real-life trauma victim. Paranoid, grief-stricken, exhausted and petrifyingly afraid of losing her grasp on reality, Moss plays this role perfectly, providing a relatable hook for the audience and maximizing the sheer horror of the film’s premise. 

The film’s direction cannot be praised enough. Whannell and cinematographer Stefan Duscio create an effect where the camera powerfully glides through each scene, always playing as active a role in telling the story as the dialogue and actors. 

The camera focuses where we otherwise would not have, forcing us to always wonder, “Wait! Is he there?!” 

In addition to the strong performances and on-point direction, “The Invisible Man” features a solid script that, aside from substituting some “movie logic” in the place of regular common sense, updates Wells’ original idea in an intriguing manner. 

“The Invisible Man” does with skill what films like “Paranormal Activity” did with novelty. Namely, it makes the audience search every little part of every scene, anxiously attempting to spot some little clue, anything that might tell them where the phantom oppressor actually is.

This film understands that what is unseen is always more terrifying than what is seen.”The Invisible Man” is crafted in such a way as to augment our natural fear of an already petrifying premise. 

If you’re a fan of horror or sci-fi, or are just in the mood for a superbly made thriller that is practically perfect, then you should certainly check out this modern horror masterpiece.

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