In our uncertain times, maybe an invisible monster is the perfect form of escapism. 

By Kimberly Truong
Mar 20, 2020 @ 5:30 pm
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In times of great distress and uncertainty, I turn to one of two entertainment options: Great British Bake-Off, or something so much darker and more dramatic than my current reality that my existential dread withers in comparison. Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man firmly careens into the latter category.

Now that movie theaters have closed temporarily in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, The Invisible Man will be available on-demand — and it’s the perfect movie to watch while we practice social distancing.

For one thing, watching from the comfort of your home means you can clutch a glass or two of whiskey (or perhaps a stress ball or throw pillow) throughout the two hours and five minute runtime — which is optimal, if you’re like me and can usually only experience horror movies via a Wikipedia plot summary.

Admittedly, The Invisible Man isn’t a movie I’d typically rush to the theater to see. The descriptor, “science fiction horror film,” contains four words which fill me with sheer terror before I even watch a trailer. But given the excellent reviews, and what I’d read about the movie’s sensitive handling of domestic violence themes, I decided to face my fear of horror movies, and was subsequently blown away.

Yes, the concept of watching someone in an invisible suit initially sounds silly, as does the idea of watching someone react to an invisible monster. But if anyone can sell the visual of wrestling thin air, it’s Elisabeth Moss, carrying the whole movie on her shoulders.

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Universal Pictures

As Cecilia, a woman attempting to escape her abusive boyfriend after he gains the power to become invisible, Moss skillfully plays out every layer of the horror show happening before us: the physical threat of an attacker you can’t see, but also the very real terror of domestic violence and gaslighting. As the titular invisible man, her co-star Oliver Jackson-Cohen is equally, scarily good — even with just about ten minutes of his actual face on the screen, giving us the most effortlessly menacing delivery of the word “surprise” in cinematic history.

The end result is a thrill ride so gripping that I barely remember exhaling throughout the whole movie, except during a truly shocking scene halfway through that had the person next to me in the theater breathing out, “Jesus, f—k.”

I can’t count myself among the people revisiting Contagion while we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, if you’re looking for something so engrossing that it takes your mind off your coronavirus anxiety, I’d highly recommend losing yourself in the rollercoaster of intensity that is The Invisible Man.

You can rent the movie on AmazonAppleFandango NowGoogle PlayVudu, or YouTube.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.

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