'The Invisible Man' removed scene of 'bloody injury detail' to secure a 15 rating in the UK

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass in 'The Invisible Man', written and directed by Leigh Whannell. (Credit: Mark Rogers/Universal)
Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass in 'The Invisible Man', written and directed by Leigh Whannell. (Credit: Mark Rogers/Universal)

Note: This article contains minor spoilers for The Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man made a change to one of its more violent scenes in order to secure a 15 rating from the British Board of Film Classification.

When Upgrade director Leigh Whannell’s movie was shown to BBFC examiners prior to formal classification, Universal made it clear they were targeting a 15 certificate, rather than the more restrictive 18 rating.

However, they were advised that they were likely to receive an 18, unless a particular scene of “bloody injury detail” was softened.

Read more: Elisabeth Moss reveals Invisible Man stunt secrets

When the movie was formally submitted, the scene had been altered and a 15 certificate was duly applied.

Elisabeth Moss plays a domestic abuse survivor in 'The Invisible Man'. (Credit: Mark Rogers/Universal)
Elisabeth Moss plays a domestic abuse survivor in 'The Invisible Man'. (Credit: Mark Rogers/Universal)

The film’s official rating information declares it a 15 certificate for “strong bloody violence, threat, language, domestic abuse”.

This means The Invisible Man is one of the first movies to implement the BBFC’s new guidance on referring to domestic abuse.

Read more: Leigh Whannell explains Invisible Man character changes

Elisabeth Moss plays the lead role in the movie, as a domestic abuse survivor who comes to believe her apparently dead ex-partner is stalking her in invisible form.

The BBFC wrote: “The company was advised [The Invisible Man] was likely to be classified 18 uncut but that their preferred 15 classification could be obtained by making small changes to one scene to remove bloody injury detail during an attempted suicide.”

Storm Reid in 'The Invisible Man'. (Credit: Universal)
Storm Reid in 'The Invisible Man'. (Credit: Universal)

It is common for movie studios to seek advice from the BBFC in order to target a particular rating, particularly for films on the borderline between the 12A and 15 certificates, as well as the boundary between 15 and 18.

In 2018, the Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller Red Sparrow similarly had one sequence of violence reduced in intensity to secure a 15 rating.

This did not stop the controversial movie becoming the BBFC’s most complained about film that year.

Read more: Silliest BBFC complaints

The Invisible Man is currently riding high at the box office, having already earned $54m (£42m) worldwide from a budget of just $7m (£5.4m).

It emerged from the ashes of Universal’s failed Dark Universe series of monster movies, for which Johnny Depp had been cast as The Invisible Man.