Warning: spoilers for The Invisible Man ahead!
The surprise hit of 2020 comes in the form of a movie with a villain you can’t even see. The Invisible Man, from Upgrade director and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell, seemed to be just the film Universal Pictures needed to bounce back after the monumental failures of Cats and Dolittle. In an age of remakes and threequels, finding a film that’s an actual fresh take on an old franchise seems impossible. Not only did The Invisible Man succeed, but it blew every other reboot out of the water.
I will admit, when I first saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be stupid. Imagine my surprise when the reviews began to roll in and they were all glowing (the film currently sits at a comfortable 91% on Rotten Tomatoes). It felt like a lesson my mother would have tried to teach me in elementary school — never judge a book by its cover. When I bucked up and saw the film on opening night, something I never do, I understood all the praise. It was a masterclass in the thriller genre that had me frozen in some parts and reaching toward the screen in a panic in others.
If you aren’t familiar with the plot of The Invisible Man (which, why are you reading this article if you aren’t? Don’t spoil yourself!), it’s about a woman named Cecilia who is stalked by her abusive ex, Adrian, after he fakes his death and discovers a way to turn himself invisible. While that premise on its own is pretty startling, the true horror lies in the way that Cecilia is not believed.
In my opinion, the scariest parts of the movie were all the times that Cecilia was dismissed or written off as crazy. Literally everybody in the movie thinks she’s crazy. Wouldn’t you, if someone tried to tell you there was an invisible man stalking them? The thing is, there is! She’s telling the truth the entire time and nobody believes her until they see it for themselves.
We’re in an era where more and more women are sharing their stories about sexual assault, and it’s important that we believe and support them. While I don’t know if the director intended for the metaphor to exist within his movie, it’s very easy to read into it. In the end, Cecilia does get her happy ending, and her revenge against her abuser, and that makes the entire journey worth it.