A young woman believes she is being tormented by the ghost of her abusive ex-boyfriend, only to discover something far worse in The Invisible Man, Universal Pictures' rebooted adaptation of the classic science fiction novel by H.G. Wells. Judging by the trailer, the new movie will deviate considerably from the source material in some interesting ways to bring Wells' tale into the 21st century.
(Spoilers for the 1897 novel and 1933 film below.)
First serialized and then published as a book in 1897, the novel tells the story of a scientist named Griffin, whose research into optics leads him to invent a means of turning himself invisible by chemically altering his body's refractive index to match that of air. Wells cited Plato's Republic as one of his influences, notably a legend involving a magic ring that renders a man invisible, which Plato used to explore whether a person would behave morally if there were no repercussions for bad behavior. The novel opens with Griffin taking a room at a village inn, clad in long coat, hat, and gloves and his face swathed in bandages. He mostly keeps to himself, performing chemistry experiments in his room, but eventually his landlady discovers that he is invisible beneath the heavy clothing.
Griffin flees—killing a tramp in the process—and takes refuge with his former medical school colleague, Dr. Kemp, to whom he recounts his tale of inventing the chemicals that rendered him invisible. He has been trying to reverse the invisibility, to no avail. He is also quite mad, telling Kemp of his plans to use his invisibility to launch a murderous "Reign of Terror" on England. Kemp informs the authorities, making him Griffin's first target. Ultimately, Griffin is cornered and beaten to death by an angry mob. His body gradually becomes visible again as he dies.
The critically acclaimed 1933 film adaptation by director James Whale starred Claude Rains as the titular Invisible Man and was so successful it spawned several sequels and spinoffs. The film is a reasonably faithful adaptation of Wells' novel, except it is set in 1933 rather than the 1890s, and it fleshes out Griffin's character to include a fiancée named Flora (Gloria Stuart). It's also a more sympathetic treatment of Griffin as a tragic figure, showing him as being driven mad by a scientific experiment gone wrong rather than portraying an unhinged man drunk on power who readily resorts to murder.