Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Being in an abusive relationship (psychological and physical)
How to escape such a relationship
People believing someone is insane when they are not
The idea of someone invisible trying to harm you
Elisabeth Moss … Cecilia Kass
Oliver Jackson-Cohen … Adrian Griffin, a scientist and Cecilia’s abusive ex-husband
Aldis Hodge … James Lanier, a childhood friend of Cecilia
Storm Reid … Sydney Lanier, the daughter of James
Michael Dorman … Tom Griffin
Harriet Dyer … Alice
Benedict Hardie … Marc, an architect
Amali Golden … Annie
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Goalpost Pictures [Australia]
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“What you can’t see can hurt you”
Cecilia Kass is in a really bad relationship. In fact, by all accounts Cecilia’s relationship with scientist Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is anything but healthy; it’s controlling, manipulative, isolative and, worst of all, abusive. Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) has had enough and is making her escape, once and for all. After making a stealthy exit from Adrian’s home, she is able to grab a ride from her sister Alice and she and her sister drive away from Adrian—his house of horrors, and a life that, in Cecilia’s mind, she hopes she can someday just forget entirely.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Cecilia has found refuge in the home of a friend, Detective James Lanier (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). So far, there’s been no sign of Adrian. No phone calls, no letters. Still, that’s brought very little comfort to Cecilia, as she has lived in fear of Adrian all her life and, as long as he’s alive, she will continue to live in fear of him—so much so that Cecilia hasn’t been able to leave James’ property since she got there.
One afternoon, Alice walks in with some shocking and disturbing news… Adrian is dead. Apparently, he committed suicide some time shortly after Cecilia left (who knows when). “Why would Adrian commit suicide?” Cecilia thinks. “He had control of everything and of everyone. He had the perfect life. It just doesn’t make sense.” Still, in her mind, dead is dead and now she does not have to live in fear of being abused by James anymore right. Well…
Shortly thereafter some strange things begin happening to and around Cecilia: the kitchen stove catches fire out of nowhere, a camera takes pictures of her in her sleep with no one controlling it, an email is sent out from her email address that she, herself never sent. Now things really aren’t adding up. Then it hits her! “Adrian said that, even in death, he’d find a way to get to me and I’d never see him coming. Somehow he didn’t die, he’s invisible.”
Well, crazier things have been thought of—I mean—happened…
When I first viewed the trailer for “The Invisible Man,” I thought, “Oh great, I just saw the whole movie while watching the trailer. Fantastic. It’s one of THOSE films.” Then I began to think, “Ok so it’s going to be one of those poorly made, low-budget jump-scare-a minute young-adult horrors, just like “Fantasy Island,” or one of those CGI saturated films, like “Brahms: The Boy II.”
However, I left the theater pleasantly surprised. Was it a loose adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man? That’s a hard sell. As it has been pointed out by the producers themselves, it falls more in line with the 1993 film of the same name. However, the modern retelling, particularly how the movie has added such a gravitas of a theme like domestic violence/abuse to a classic like the “The Invisible Man,” has made the film, indeed more substantive, but also disturbing, and by disturbing I mean a type of disturbing that leaves a mark on you as you leave the theater, and maybe not in the way you want it to.
Look, domestic abuse is a theme that must be dealt with and the way that pro filmmaker, Leigh Whannell, has woven this theme intricately throughout the movie is no doubt impressive. Yes, there are other moments of horror in the film in the traditional sense of “Oh a door got pushed open by the wind when Cecilia is all by herself” (this is just an example), but these moments of horror are all centered around her fear of Adrian’s invisibility, which is even more frightening on account of WHO Adrian’s character is: an abusive, controlling husband (ex?). That is the true terror of the film, and while most of the abuse isn’t shown, the anticipation of it, through the incredible camerawork and hair-raising soundtrack, is frightening enough to make even the strongest movie-goer question whether or not this type of film was a good idea.
VIOLENCE: We see Adrian try to grab Cecilia out of the car as she is driving away from him with her sister, Alice. Adrian is reported to have committed suicide and later we see a couple pictures of his suicide with his wrists slit and blood gushing underneath him. We hear some discussions regarding physical abuse. A young girl is hit in the face. There are two scenes where a character is seen being choked, dragged across the floor and thrown against the wall. A knife is seen going across a table and slicing someone’s throat (we see blood gushing out and the character falling, collapsing and dying). A person is stabbed. In a rather lengthy scene, officers are seen stabbed, beaten, shot in the leg, shot in the chest and killed, and thrown against walls. Someone in a car is shot. A young girl is attacked and choked. A character is graphically beaten nearly to death (severely injured and bloodied all over his face and chest). Lastly, a character is seen cutting their own throat.
VULGARITY: F**k (7), Mother-F***er (1 spoken, 1 cut off), Sh*t (5), and a** (1). Other language includes calling someone a “jellyfish,” “narcissistic,” and a “sociopath.”
PROFANITY: J*sus (1), G*d (2)
SEX/NUDITY: Cecilia wears a revealing nightgown, and she is shown showering (we see her, partially nude, from the shoulders up), and then in a towel later on. Some cleavage is shown in a bed scene. And there is a situation involving birth control pills and a pregnancy.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: A person is roofied with diazepam and alcohol. A bottle of diazepam is shown in a few scenes. A character is injected with a sedative at a hospital. Two adults drink alcohol (we don’t actually see them drink, but the next day they comment about their hangovers).
OTHER: A family member states that they are glad that Adrian is dead. We read, in an email, about how another character should have died instead of Adrian. Someone trespasses on to private property (?). A character passes out during a job interview. A stove is seen catching fire.
It’s truly disheartening to have had to watch on screen a woman endure the type of relationship she has with Adrian. Instead of a relationship filled with love, commitment and honor, it was filled with anguish, hate, and pain.
The Bible makes it very clear…
The Bible also states the following:
“As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” —1 Peter 3 6-7
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman” —1 Corinthians 11:11
“The Invisible Man” is a technical achievement and one that, if it weren’t so “whole ‘nother level type of disturbing,” would be a film that, for the average horror/thriller fan, would be quite a ride and worth the price of admission, as, frankly, there’s a lot to admire (some amazing performances, particularly by Elizabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge, expert camera work and steady pacing amongst everything else).
However, there’s a lot of content to be aware of, the violence being one of the main issues, as well as some strong uses of vulgarity. I urge you NOT to bring children or teenagers to this film, as much as some teens may beg. I, personally, suggest you pass on this film, but as always, the choice lies with you.
Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.