(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: 31803%
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: A scientist (Kevin Bacon) becomes mentally unstable after he learns the invisibility serum he tested on himself cannot be reversed.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

#19
Adjusted Score: 35801%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A criminal (Jon Hall) haunts his enemies' mansion after a mad scientist (John Carradine) makes him invisible.... [More]
Directed By: Ford Beebe

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 44621%
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: A college student (Cécile de France) tries to save a kidnapped friend (Maïwenn Le Besco) from a brutal killer (Philippe... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#17

Saw (2004)
51%

#17
Adjusted Score: 55892%
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: A serial murderer will slaughter a captive doctor's (Cary Elwes) wife and daughter unless the man kills a fellow prisoner.... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 58616%
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: A young woman (Winona Ryder) with a borderline personality disorder stays in a 1960s mental institution for 18 months.... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#15

Invisible Agent (1942)
67%

#15
Adjusted Score: 66046%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An Allied spy (Jon Hall) made invisible by chemistry outwits Axis agents with his blond-braided lover (Ilona Massey).... [More]
Directed By: Edwin L. Marin

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 66383%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A screwy professor's experiments with a gorgeous model attract the attentions of a gangster and a handsome millionaire.... [More]
Directed By: A. Edward Sutherland

#13

Perfect Blue (1997)
80%

#13
Adjusted Score: 80532%
Critics Consensus: Perfect Blue is overstylized, but its core mystery is always compelling, as are the visual theatrics.
Synopsis: A mysterious figure stalks a pop star when she becomes an actor on a television show.... [More]
Directed By: Satoshi Kon

#12

Scream (1996)
79%

#12
Adjusted Score: 82954%
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: A psycho killer targets a past victim's daughter (Neve Campbell), while a tabloid TV reporter (Courteney Cox) homes in on... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#11
Adjusted Score: 80932%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two detective-school graduates (Bud Abbott, Lou Costello) help a framed boxer who can make himself disappear.... [More]
Directed By: Charles Lamont

#10

The One I Love (2014)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 84982%
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: A couple (Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss) whose marriage is crumbling have a surreal experience during a weekend getaway at a... [More]
Directed By: Charlie McDowell

#9
Adjusted Score: 89617%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Vincent Price) framed for murder uses a serum to become invisible, then escapes to find the killer.... [More]
Directed By: Joe May

#8

Her Smell (2018)
84%

#8
Adjusted Score: 89684%
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 is a talented but self-destructive musician who seems determined to alienate everyone around her -- even at the... [More]
Directed By: Alex Ross Perry

#7

Black Swan (2010)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 95708%
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 ballerina (Natalie Portman) begins to lose her fragile grip on reality as a sultry newcomer (Mila Kunis) threatens to... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#6

Gaslight (1944)
88%

#6
Adjusted Score: 91678%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Scotland Yard detective (Joseph Cotten) figures out why a schizoid Victorian (Charles Boyer) is trying to drive his wife... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#5

Upgrade (2018)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 97894%
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: An artificial intelligence implant called STEM gives a paralyzed man superhuman strength and agility -- skills he uses to seek... [More]
Directed By: Leigh Whannell

#4

Queen of Earth (2015)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95211%
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: Tensions rise when an emotionally fragile woman (Elisabeth Moss) spends one week with her best friend (Katherine Waterston).... [More]
Directed By: Alex Ross Perry

#3

Diabolique (1955)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102333%
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: A wife (Vera Clouzot) and a mistress (Simone Signoret) conspire to murder the brutal headmaster (Paul Meurisse) of a school... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2

It Follows (2014)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 107442%
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: Following a strange sexual encounter, a teenager (Maika Monroe) has disturbing visions and the inescapable feeling that someone -- or... [More]
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 103257%
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: The serum that makes a scientist (Claude Rains) invisible has madness as a side effect.... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

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