Hollow Man Movie Poster Image

Hollow Man

Even for mature viewers, this is a flop.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A graphic dirty joke.


Constant violence, including a half dozen gruesome murders, a rape, and two scenes in which animals are brutally killed. The gratuitous killings of two lab animals are particularly upsetting.


The main character uses his invisibility to grope a sleeping co-worker's breast, spy on another in the bathroom, and rape a neighbor who has been undressing in front of his window. There are several sex scenes, and a dirty joke is told. We see both male and female nudity.


Heavy. Pretty much every word you wouldn't want kids to repeat is used several times.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief smoking and drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even if they customarily take their teens to R-rated movies, they should think twice about letting kids see this one -- strong, pervasive scenes of violence, gruesome horror, and adult sexuality make this inappropriate for all but the most mature viewers.

What's the story?

Scientist Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) and his colleagues Linda (Elisabeth Shue) and Matt (Josh Brolin) are working for a top-secret military department, trying to develop an invisibility potion. Pressured by his superior, Caine tests the serum on himself even though he's not certain that it's in a final form. Caine begins suffering serious side effects that transform him into a killer.

Is it any good?


This disappointing thriller was directed by Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch-born filmmaker with a reputation for strong violence and sexuality. Like his previous films, this movie makes no concession to young viewers. The gruesome opening scene is enough to give kids nightmares for weeks. Immediately after, we see scientist Sebastian Caine peeping out his window at a naked woman. It almost seems that Verhoeven is making a point of warning parents right away that any kids in the audience should immediately be ushered out.

Even for mature viewers, though, Hollow Man is a flop. The notion of confronting the dark fantasies that might be unleashed if we could become invisible is intriguing, but it's never taken past cheap (and nasty) titillation here. Caine quickly becomes too lunatic for us to empathize with his plight. Most of the movie takes place in a cramped research facility, avoiding the intriguing possibilities of what an invisible person might do in the everyday world. The finale, in particular, is a letdown -- Sebastian systematically murders his colleagues to keep them from exposing him.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the film's themes compare to the current issues being raised about pharmaceutical drug companies.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 3, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:September 3, 2002
Cast:Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Kevin Bacon
Director:Paul Verhoeven
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

This review of Hollow Man was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byColdrick April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCastellanos July 16, 2009

Hard R that's one of those movies you watch for laughs

Hollow man is one of those movies that you go with your friends, leave your brain at the door, and laugh at it. The movie could have been worse, but it isn't worth watching except for strong sci-fi fans. The trick to watching movies like Hollow Man is to not expect a lot from it. You expect a full of holes, twisted plot line, characters that you'll show no affection towards (and in this movies case, that's a good thing) and some good-old bloody violence. Parents should know that Hollow Man is a step-up (in terms of inappropriateness) than many other R-rated movies. There are a couple of up-settings things in this movie. A character lets a mouse get killed by an invisible gorilla, bashes a dogs head against a cage, killing it. The same man spies on and rapes his neighbor. A character is drowned, another gets stabbed in the neck with a pipe, another person is impaled, another gets shot with a tranquilizer gun, then gets their neck snapped, another fondles a woman breasts while she is sleeping, another is strangled with piano wire, one character is bitten in the hand by an invisible gorilla, the same gorilla has a heart attack, many characters are beaten, and one character is electrocuted, burnt, and falls from a great height into an explosion. Other then this, one character makes a dirty joke relating to rape and anal sex, and there are many uses of f**k, s**t, p***k, and other swear words. Parents should think twice about letting young ones watch this movie. Little kids will be scared during and after the movie and young teens will see some disturbing and up-setting scenes.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

cool horror movie

i'm the first one to post a review. It was a awesome horror movie. sure, I don't remember some of it because I was 3 years when I watched it, and mostly screaming for my mom, but it was worth it.