Why The Invisible Man Never Tries To Convince The Audience Elisabeth Moss Might Be Crazy

Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) stands in the shower as a handprint appears on the foggy door in the backgr

Warning: The end of this story contains significant spoilers for The Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man takes the audience on a pretty crazy ride. It follows Elisabeth Moss’ character through a frightening psychological journey -- but never once seems to question her sanity. And that intentional choice by the film’s director was key to making sure the movie pulled off its frightening premise.

The Invisible Man features plenty of crazy twists and turns, and it would have been easy for director Leigh Whannell to make it seem as though Elisabeth Moss’ character Cecilia was as out of her mind as those around her believe her to be. But in an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg, the director said he made a conscious choice to tell The Invisible Man from her perspective:

You know, it’s funny. Early on, there’s this idea of the movie could maybe exist as a just a purely paranoid movie. If you think about classic paranoia movies like Rosemary’s Baby, the question is there, like, 'What’s really happening?' You know, 'Is she imagining it?' And right up until the end, you’re thinking 'Is this real or not?' But I feel like I’ve done that, you know. I’ve written the haunted house movie where the person isn’t being believed. So I was like, you know, I have to be a bit sensitive with this topic of these relationships. So I just wanted to present Elisabeth Moss’ character as the central character and the audience surrogate. So you spend the whole movie in her shoes. You never step outside her viewpoint, you know? It’s really a one woman show in that way.

Check out the full interview below to see Leigh Whannell discuss his approach to telling Cecilia’s story:

By focusing on Cecilia’s perspective, Leigh Whannell is still able to create the kind of tension necessary to make a thriller like The Invisible Man work. And he makes sure that the audience stays invested in Cecilia’s survival. Or, as he puts it:

She goes through the ringer, you go through the ringer.

In The Invisible Man, Elisabeth Moss’ character Cecilia escapes an abusive relationship with a genius scientist, Adrian (Oliver Jackson Cohen), only to be terrorized by him after he fakes his own suicide. Throughout the film, he uses a suit that renders him invisible to try and drive her crazy and ends up getting her committed after making it appear as though she lost it and killed her best friend. At one point, it seems as though Adrian’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman) was the man in the suit, and that he had held Adrian captive in his home. But Cecilia eventually outsmarts Adrian and gets him to admit that he orchestrated it all in order to gaslight her. The film ends with Cecilia exacting her revenge on Adrian, as she dons his suit and kills him, making it look like a suicide.

The Invisible Man has earned glowing reviews from critics who’ve praised the film for rebooting the classic story in a way that can resonate with a modern audience. It’s currently playing in theaters.

Katherine Webb