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I Elevation Pictures  I July 12, 2024 I 101 mins. I

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* As of 7/8/24

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Chris Ferguson, Dave Caplan, Dan Kagan

Directed By: Osgood Perkins

FBI Agent Lee Harker is assigned to an unsolved serial killer case that takes an unexpected turn, revealing evidence of the occult. Harker discovers a personal connection to the killer and must stop him before he strikes again.

REVIEW BY: Kurt Morrison - 7/8/24

RATING 4.5 out of 5

I have never experienced a film that right from the first frame made me uncomfortable or anxious. But low and behold, the 101 minute rollercoaster ride known as Longlegs did exactly that and set ablaze an internal tension that revved so high, that there were points where I was sweating during the film. So let that be a verbal testament to how amazingly well crafted this visceral piece of horror filmmaking is, because folks, Longlegs is one of the best films of 2024 and I cannot wait to tell you about it.

Set in the 1990’s, the film follows new FBI recruit Lee Harker, played by horror vet Maika Monroe, who is seemingly new to the Bureau and still very much in training. She is quiet, kind of awkward, seemingly introverted yet possesses a keen eye for forensic investigation or so she thinks. Without giving too much away, Harker’s knacks and hunches seem a little …..too accurate for somebody to not ask questions - so Harker (Monroe) finds herself quickly pulled into an investigation about a series of unsolved murders involving the serial killer aptly known as Longlegs. Spanning nearly four decades, the case remains a smudge on the Bureau’s record and Harker’s boss, Agent Carter (played by Blair Underwood), is hell bent on solving it with Harker’s help after a recent addition to Longleg’s murderous legacy.

And so begins the labyrinth of storytelling red herrings that weave a ferocious and sinister timeline of a serial killer with an insatiable appetite.

Writer/director Osgood Perkins' script feels like a total homage to films that have come before it - with most critics giving it a direct comparison to Johnathan Demme’s Oscar winning Silence of the Lambs (1991) or David Fincher’s ZODIAC - both of which I see and agree with. But where I saw the greatest comparison to is my favourite TV series of all-time, Season 1 of True Detective and here’s why.


Instead of seeing the gore and murderous rage of our killer as it unfolds, we are instead injected in a years old case - with only evidence and flashbacks to help us piece together the crimes that have been committed. The skeletons in the closet are shown to us, leaving our protagonist(s) to backtrack the killer’s moves and motives. We see them weave the intricacies and piece the clues together, as the clock ticks, with them wondering when the next victim will pop up.


It’s psychological serial killing at its finest and what makes Longlegs stand out from other films in its horror sub-genre.

Perkins’ and his cinematographer, Andrés Arochi, are evil in their choices to use the combination of long lens shots and close up first person low angle shots to amp up your anxiety while watching. Calling back to the opening first frame sequence I started my review with - its this combination of things mentioned that work PERFECTLY together to start the film off in an ominous tone that leads to a genuinely good and gut punch of a scare.

Their choices to flip flop aspect ratios for different parts of the film was a very unique way of distinguishing timeline events for Longleg’s killings and I loved it. It made it easier to understand what we were watching without feeling spoon fed. To top it off, the combination of their use of natural lighting and color grading and you get not only a genuinely terrifying film to watch on the big screen, but a gorgeous one as well.


Sound designer Eugenio Battaglia and composer Zilgi produce a haunting aural environment, with the occasional inclusion of T. Rex on the soundtrack heightening the unease of the visuals. There are moments where the subdued score echoes in the undercarriage of a scene, and it completely absorbs you with an uneasy feeling. It’s phenomenal scoring of a film and a masterclass reminder of how to properly use sound to create anxiety and not just jump scares - something which this beloved genre forgot about a long time ago.

For all the technical aspects that make the film unforgettable, it's the performances of both Maika Monroe and Nicholas Cage that will shatter you. Monroe channels an interesting version of a young FBI agent, in that she is extremely smart and intuitive much like a young Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, but she brings an almost awkward demeanor to her Lee Harker, almost like watching Aubrey Plaza, sans sarcasm, being an FBI agent. I know it sounds weird but IT WORKS - LIKE IT REALLY WORKS and is a phenomenal performance from her. She knows how to pack an emotional punch when needed and I hope this role thrusts her back into the Hollywood limelight because this is the reminder that she is a DAMN good actress.

And for all that Maika does well, the runaway show stealer is none other than Nicholas Cage as Longlegs. Film gang, it’s hard for me to say this because this man’s entire career has been amazing. But this is the best thing Cage has ever done. Period. End of discussion.

This character of Longlegs is so genuinely absorbing and suffocatingly scary that I cannot remember the last time any character, horror movie or not, etched itself into my psyche this hard. Cage is going 100 miles per hour in this role thanks to his physical transformation and commitment to the part and it’s sold with such confidence and conviction that it deserves to be echoed in the same sentiment as other genre boogeymen. Lecter, Myers, Krueger, Longlegs.

As a horror diehard, there is so much for me to love and rave about with Longlegs. The more I thought about it after watching it, the more I fell in love with it. It’s a uniquely made horror film that tries to set itself apart from things that have come before it, while its dedication to the level of suspense and angst it aims to create is a horror fan's dream. It succeeds with every frame and every fright and is one of 2024’s best films so far.

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