Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Invisible Man.
Leigh Whannell’s twist on the classic H.G. Wells story The Invisible Man turns scientist and inventor Adrian Griffin (here played by Haunting of Hill House star Oliver Jackson-Cohen) into a sociopath who preys on the vulnerable. By the end of The Invisible Man, he gets what he deserves when his technology is used against him.
At the beginning of the movie, uber-wealthy Silicon Valley star Adrian, who is a master in “the field of optics,” has confined his girlfriend Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) in his high-tech mausoleum of a house. He uses surveillance cameras to track her every move and automated alarms to keep her fenced in.
One night when Cecilia has finally had enough of Adrian’s abuse, she seeks refuge at a childhood friend’s home. She believes her nightmare is over when, weeks later, she learns that Adrian died by suicide. Unfortunately for Cecilia, Adrian’s death was just a rouse. He faked his death and is using his newly-created invisibility suit to stalk and torture her, without anyone but her knowing he is there.
Throughout the film, Adrian finds ways to make Cecilia appear “crazy” to those closest to her. He even goes so far as to harm her loved ones and blame Cecilia for it. When Cecilia finds an ally in her sister Alice (Harriet Dyer), Adrian slices her throat in the middle of a crowded restaurant and then plants the knife in Cecilia’s hands. Cecilia is taken away to a psychiatric hospital, where her desperate attempts to tell those around her about the invisible Adrian are seen as the delusions of a sick person.
Cecilia, however, doesn’t give up without a fight. After Cecilia escapes the psychiatric facility, she’s pursued to her friend’s house by the Invisible Man. But when she finally kills him, it’s not Adrian under the invisibility suit, but Adrian’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman). Just like he faked his death, Adrian faked his kidnapping and pretends that Tom held him captive, stalked Cecilia, and murdered Alice. Cecilia knows this is a lie and just another one of Adrian’s attempts to manipulate those around him into believing he’s the “good guy” — but the police don’t believe her story. Cecilia, who learns she’s pregnant with Adrian’s baby, realizes she has to at least pretend to play by Adrian’s rules to move on with her life.
Cecilia meets Adrian at his home for a steak dinner — the first time since his “death” that she’s seen him outside of the invisibility suit. He attempts to charm her, but when she tries to get him to confess to killing her sister, he pretends to have no idea what she’s talking about.
Getting Adrian to confess was never really Cecilia’s plan, though. Earlier in the film, Cecilia discovered a second invisibility suit, and hid it in the back of Adrian’s closet, away from the eyes of the security cameras. When Cecilia excuses herself from dinner to freshen up, she secretly puts on the invisibility suit.
Adrian doesn’t notice that Cecilia has returned, which is her plan. Using her newfound upper hand, Cecilia forces Adrian to grab a steak knife off the table and cut his own throat. To the security cameras, it looks like Adrian took his own life. Cue the hysterics from Cecilia, who makes sure the security cameras also see her “shock” and horror over what Adrian did.
It’s a brutal end for Adrian, but also one that he inadvertently brought upon himself. Adrian was the one who filled the house with security cameras, which allowed Cecilia to get away with his murder. Adrian created the invisibility suit. He even gave Cecilia the idea for his death by killing her sister in the very same manner. It’s a satisfying ending — for all the pain that Adrian caused, at least some of it came back to get him in the end.