[Editor’s note: This post contains major spoilers for “The Invisible Man.” Do not read further if you do not wish to be spoiled.]
Leigh Whannell’s “The Invisible Man” opened nationwide February 28 and is already one of the year’s biggest critical and commercial hits (the film boasts a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes from 226 reviews and has earned nearly $50 million worldwide on a $7 million budget). The psychological horror film stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman named Cecilia who escapes from an abusive relationship only to have her ex-boyfriend torment her as an invisible entity. One of the film’s biggest shocks is when Cecilia finally unmasks the invisible man to discover it’s not her ex-boyfriend but her ex-boyfriend’s brother, Tom. Police officers then find Cecilia’s ex tied up as a prisoner in his basement, the implication being that Tom imprisoned his brother and tormented Cecilia.
Moss tells USA Today that Cecilia’s ex, Adrian, was in control the entire time. The film alludes to this during the final set piece when Adrian uses some of the same language the invisible entity whispered to Cecilia earlier in the film. As Moss explains, “The brother did maybe this or that on the side to kind of help things out, but regardless, [Adrian] orchestrated the entire thing. He had the suit, he designed it. He chose to use it in the way that he did. So his brother is one of the victims.”
Whannell doesn’t seem to be as convinced as Moss is on the matter, although he says he would never want to tell someone how to interpret the movie’s twists. “I wouldn’t ever challenge someone’s view of a film of mine,” the director and screenwriter says. “It’s the audience’s job to unpack it and take away their own meaning. So I would never want to answer those questions only because I wouldn’t want to dilute your view of the movie by saying, ‘Well, here’s the correct answer.’ Truth is, there’s no correct answer.”
Popular on IndieWire
One plot point that is clear is Adrian’s death. Cecilia hides an invisibility suit in her bathroom and invites Adrian over for dinner and kills him by slitting his throat with a knife. Because Cecilia can’t be seen, the security cameras pick up the death as if it was Adrian committing suicide while Cecilia was in the bathroom. Moss calls the gruesome death scene “absolutely” the right place to end the film on for Cecilia.
“I don’t think you can put a character through all of that and then not have them have some redemption in the end, even if it’s complicated,” Moss says to USA Today. “Even if it’s a choice that she made that she thinks is her only choice, you have to give that character a win at the end. You have to bring her back from that place and give her her strength back. You don’t want to watch this whole movie and then have her die. That’d be terrible!”
“You can imagine if Bruce Willis were to die at the end of ‘Die Hard,'” Whannell adds. “Everyone would want their money back. Horror and thrillers allow experimentation a lot more than in other genres. You can sort of take this really forward-thinking, avant-garde filmmaking and wrap it around a mainstream thriller.”
“The Invisible Man” is now playing in theaters nationwide.