One Trick The Invisible Man Uses Over And Over To Keep Its Audience Guessing

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man
(Image credit: (Blumhouse))

If you look at the horror movies that have been released in the first couple months of 2020, things are looking a little grim for the genre. Between The Turning, Fantasy Island and The Grudge, not a single one can be called even close to a hit ,and they’ve all seen particularly negative reviews from audiences. But could Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man break the streak?

The writer/director found breakout success in 2018’s Upgrade and positive reviews started pouring in for The Invisible Man on Tuesday. The question on many audiences' minds is undoubtedly how this Invisible Man can be frightening in a modern age where the genre has seemingly pulled off just about every trick in the book. Leigh Whannell explained one aspect of his horror movie that he thinks contributes to its scares. In his words:

I felt like if someone buys a ticket to a movie called The Invisible Man they’ll automatically be suspicious of any empty corner. Also audiences today are very film literate, even if they don’t know they are. They’ve seen a lot of movies and they are trained to recognize the different rhythms of modern films. So I tried to weaponize that against them. Knowing if I pointed the camera at a corner, in a film called The Invisible Man, the audience is going to start thinking, ‘Is he there? Is he not there?’ And that became exciting to me because it felt unique like I hadn’t seen a lot of movies do that.

That's interesting. Leigh Whannell sounds like he’s one step ahead of audiences. He went into filming The Invisible Man with an idea of what those sitting in the seats would be expecting. As the Upgrade filmmaker told io9, he decided he would flip it on its head and play with the idea of where we traditionally think the camera will go in a movie such as this.

Elisabeth Moss and the rest of the cast also pull off some crazy fight scenes in The Invisible Man that implement both visual and practical effects. The movie puts a new twist on the story – Moss plays a woman running from her ex, who is stalking her using invisible technology. When Leigh Whannell recently sat down with CinemaBlend, he also mentioned this filmmaking approach he felt would make it more scary as well:

The invisible man is kind of an outlandish concept. One way to convince people it's real is to film it in these long shots so people never see the cuts. You can't hide from a one shot scene. So we did that.

It sounds like Leigh Whannell came up with some ingenious ideas to make The Invisible Man scary again. The director has actually said that the project came to him in a “really random way” when he was at a meeting with Universal. He had no idea he was being asked to come up with an idea about the iconic movie monster when he walked in. It wasn’t until he walked out when he figured out he’d just been in an “ambush.”

Ambush or no ambush, Leigh Whannell has called the experience “really rewarding,” and CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave the film 4.5 out of 5 stars in his review. You can check out The Invisible Man on February 28.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.