(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved The Invisible Man

If you’re looking for more movies like The Invisible Man, surprise: We’ve got a few recommendations! To get it out of the way, yep, The Invisible Man is a new entry in the Universal Classic Monster franchise. It was the first cinematic universe, kicking off way back in the ’20s. (The 1920s and not, you know, our ’20s.) Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy are all part of this motley crew, including the Invisible Man, who had six previous movies. This new Invisible Man is notable for its departure from formula by framing the story from the victim’s perspective, but we’re including these original six Universal Monster movies here for historical context. And, hell, let’s throw in the other famous hard-to-see creep, Hollow Man, as a reminder that for decades, this is all we had in the invisible jerk subgenre.

2020’s The Invisible Man, besides being a cracking horror/thriller, has also captured the zeitgeist for Moss’ Cecilia character and her plight. Cecilia flees a violent relationship, only to be tormented and trapped by her abuser, and made to look crazy in the eyes of friends and family. This is a form of gaslighting, a term specifically derived from 1944’s Gaslight, a psychological thriller starring Ingrid Bergman as a wife manipulated by her husband into thinking she’s going insane. 1955’s Diabolique is probably the best of this type of story, though shout-out to Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, and even Scream, once you arrive at its endgame revelations. Black Swan, High Tension, and Girl, Interrupted are also worth watching through the lens of female-driven stories with shifty narratives.

Invisible Man has drawn high marks for its use of negative space, which forces viewers to search through seemingly banal shots for hidden terrors, drumming up considerable dread and paranoia. It Follows — about a malevolent entity taking the shape of humans, often depicted shuffling in backgrounds — is a previous horror phenomenon that similarly uses negative space to maximum effect.

Audiences may also be impressed by Invisible Man’s stylish presentation. Writer/director Leigh Whannell had already made a name for himself in horror by co-creating the Saw series (he’s also one of the leads in the first movie). But his 2018 cyberpunk/body horror/action effort Upgrade represented a dramatic creative leap forward for him. It’s fun to see Whannell apply Upgrade’s style towards the world of The Invisible Man.

And, of course, there’s Elisabeth Moss, who first came to public attention with The West WingMad Men, and then in the inescapable The Handmaid’s Tale. But Moss has been acting in film since the early ’90s (who can forget her as “little girl” in Suburban Commando?) and her most notable movie work is of the last few years: 2014’s The One I Love (witness her in a slightly happier relationship, before it turns sci-fi bizarre), psychological thriller Queen of Earth, and 2019 acting showcase Her Smell.

#20

Hollow Man (2000)
27%

#20
Adjusted Score: 30.896%
Critics Consensus: Despite awesome special effects, Hollow Man falls short of other films directed by Paul Verhoeven. This flick over time degenerates into a typical horror film.
Synopsis: At a top-secret military lab, a group of brilliant young scientists have just unlocked the secret of invisibility. The team's... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#19
Adjusted Score: 35.217%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The fifth in the Invisible Man series stars Jon Hall as Robert Griffin, a convict who takes the invisibility serum... [More]
Directed By: Ford Beebe

#18
Adjusted Score: 45.098%
Critics Consensus: There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.
Synopsis: French filmmaker Alexandre Aja writes and directs the slasher film Haute Tension, given the English title Switchblade Romance. Best friends... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#17

Saw (2004)
49%

#17
Adjusted Score: 54.03%
Critics Consensus: Saw ensnares audiences with a deceptively clever plot and a myriad of memorable, nasty set pieces, but its lofty ambitions are undercut by a nihilistic streak that feels more mean than profound.
Synopsis: The directorial debut from filmmaker James Wan, this psychological thriller comes from the first screenplay by actor Leigh Whannell, who... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 58.865%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie gives an intense performance, but overall Girl, Interrupted suffers from thin, predictable plotting that fails to capture the power of its source material.
Synopsis: In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, Susanna Kaysen was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder-an... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#15

Invisible Agent (1942)
60%

#15
Adjusted Score: 53.198%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Universal's "Invisible Man" series does its bit for the war effort in this slyly tongue-in-cheek action melodrama. Jon Hall stars... [More]
Directed By: Edwin L. Marin

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 67.451%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Virginia Bruce stars as a model exposed to the invisibility serum by a crazed professor (John Barrymore) in this distaff... [More]
Directed By: A. Edward Sutherland

#13

Perfect Blue (1999)
78%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79.058%
Critics Consensus: Perfect Blue is overstylized, but its core mystery is always compelling, as are the visual theatrics.
Synopsis: Mima was a pop idol, worshipped by the masses until fashion dictated otherwise. In order to salvage her career, she... [More]

#12

Scream (1996)
79%

#12
Adjusted Score: 82.941%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#11
Adjusted Score: 80.78%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The best of Universal-International's followups to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man casts Bud... [More]
Directed By: Charles Lamont

#10

The One I Love (2014)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 85.04%
Critics Consensus: The One I Love doesn't take its intriguing premise quite as far as it could, but it still adds up to an ambitious, well-acted look at love and marriage.
Synopsis: The highly anticipated debut feature from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell, THE ONE I LOVE is an original tale that continues... [More]
Directed By: Charlie McDowell

#9
Adjusted Score: 84.901%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This semi-sequel to The Invisible Man stars Vincent Price in the title role. Condemned for a murder he did not... [More]
Directed By: Joe May

#8

Her Smell (2019)
83%

#8
Adjusted Score: 88.235%
Critics Consensus: Held together by a gripping lead performance from Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell is challenging and admittedly uneven, but ultimately worth the effort.
Synopsis: Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) is a '90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something... [More]
Directed By: Alex Ross Perry

#7

Black Swan (2010)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94.412%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky's bold direction -- and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.
Synopsis: A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet, BLACK SWAN stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#6

Gaslight (1944)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 91.283%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: George Cukor's remake of the 1940 film Gaslight is the story of a beautiful, innocent woman (Ingrid Bergman) who marries... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#5

Upgrade (2018)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94.813%
Critics Consensus: Like its augmented protagonist, Upgrade's old-fashioned innards get a high-tech boost -- one made even more powerful thanks to sharp humor and a solidly well-told story.
Synopsis: After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green, SPIDER-MAN:... [More]
Directed By: Leigh Whannell

#4

Queen of Earth (2015)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95.399%
Critics Consensus: Led by a searing performance from Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth is a demanding -- and ultimately rewarding -- addition to writer-director Alex Ross Perry's impressive filmography.
Synopsis: Catherine has entered a particularly dark period in her life: her father, a famous artist whose affairs she managed, has... [More]
Directed By: Alex Ross Perry

#3
Adjusted Score: 101.76%
Critics Consensus: Cruel, dark, but undeniably effective, Diabolique is a suspense thriller as effective as Hitchcock's best work and with a brilliant twist ending.
Synopsis: The greatest film that Alfred Hitchcock never made, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique is set in a provincial boarding school run by... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2

It Follows (2015)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104.785%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and above all terrifying, It Follows is the rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels -- and leaves a lingering sting.
Synopsis: After a strange sexual encounter, a teenager finds herself haunted by nightmarish visions and the inescapable sense that something is... [More]
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104.215%
Critics Consensus: James Whale's classic The Invisible Man features still-sharp special effects, loads of tension, a goofy sense of humor, and a memorable debut from Claude Rains.
Synopsis: A mysterious stranger, his face swathed in bandages and his eyes obscured by dark spectacles, has taken a room at... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

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