“Wherever you go, I’ll be standing right behind you,” says Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) to Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss). He would stick to these words, as he stalks and tortures her throughout the new horror/thriller film, “The Invisible Man.”
The film is Leigh Whannell’s take on a story that has been around since 1933. The story was originally a novel written by H.G. Wells, but Whannell offers a modern-day version that focuses more on more up to date day themes of stalking, domestic violence and mental health.
These themes all work in tandem with each other; without the stalking and domestic violence, there would be no focus on mental health. It lets us experience how genuinely frightening it is to be in a situation like Cecilia.
The movie does an excellent job of using the classic story, instead of regurgitating it. The invisible man acts as a tool for the audience to understand the themes and feel similar emotions that one would think if they were in Cecilia’s shoes.
You can’t help but be on the edge of your seat, knowing he could be anywhere at any time, able to do anything. We know the other characters will do nothing and how could they; they can’t see him — leaving us with this helpless ball of energy in our chests, driving both Cecilia and us crazy.
Although mental health in our society is starting to be destigmatized, there is still such a long way to go. Especially in cases of domestic violence, where society tends to let the oppressor get away with it. Whether it’s because they can’t see it, or they don’t want to. Just like in the movie, society blames the victim. The film reminds us that the world lets this happen.
This movie isn’t just great because of its themes, though. The film is packed full of amazing and convincing performances. At the top of the list is Elisabeth Moss playing Cecilia. Her character seamlessly moves through this upside-down bell curve of sanity. We can see the terror on her face when Adrian is in her life, just as well as we can see the relief when he exits. Everything from her mannerisms to her inflection is impeccable and, at many points, painful to watch. Her staring into the distance as her life falls apart. She screams and cries for help or begging for someone to believe her when no one does. Much of that helplessness you feel will come from living vicariously through her.
Other standouts are Aldis Hodge — playing Cecilia’s friend, James — and Storm Reid, playing James’s daughter. Both work complementary with Elisabeth Moss’s character to further accentuate the themes of the movie.
“The Invisible Man” is thrilling and panic-inducing, all while being socially responsible. Each scene building off the last, to create a living hell, none of us would ever want to find ourselves. This film is more than worth your time and remember, “[He’ll] be standing right behind you.”