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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: Darren Zakus - 7/8/24

RATING 5 out of 5

Longlegs unleashes an unholy, twisted and down right mortifying tour de force experience that will have you on the edge of your seat plunged in complete dread and panic from the opening scene thanks to brilliant writing and direction from Osgood Perkins, a mesmerizing lead performance from Maika Monroe, and a terrifying performance from Nicolas Cage that you won’t ever forget.


2024 has proven to be an incredible year for the horror genre between studios releasing new films in popular series and small, independent films taking daring risks, ensuring that horror fans have been eating well for the first half of the year. But it should come as no surprise that the best horror film of the year comes from Anthony Perkins’ son Osgood Perkins. His father famously portrayed serial killer Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, so it should be no surprise that his film about a serial killer fires on all cylinders. It’s clear that he was inspired by recent films featuring serial killers like The Silence of the Lambs and Zodiac, whose DNA and inspiration can be seen throughout Longlegs, but it feels like Osgood Perkins felt those revered films were tame and decided to seriously up the ante. What follows is without question one of the most disturbing films you will see this year that instantly will get under your skin, with a truly fantastic performance from Nicolas Cage as the titular killer that will give you nightmares for days. 


If you haven’t seen a trailer for Longlegs or read a detailed synopsis for the film, keep it that way going into the film as the less you know about it, the better of an experience you are going to have with it. The story follows Maika Monroe’s young FBI agent Lee Harker who is assigned to a cold case of murders by an elusive serial killer, which takes a startling turn after she discovers occult clues that puts her in a race against time to stop and capture the killer before they claim any more innocent lives. What unravels it’s a psychologically unsettling, atmospheric experience that immediately has you on the edge of your seat. But as Perkins slowly reveals more and more as the film progresses, what began as an uncomfortable tale quickly becomes profoundly disturbing as he crafts the greatest serial killer film in recent memory. As he dives into the occult, the film fully embraces its horror roots and becomes a waking nightmare full of shocking reveals, restrained moments of blood and gore before unleashing one unforgettable moment of bloody carnage, mayhem and an ending that will leave you shaken. It’s a film that will linger with you long after you have left the theatre due to the pervasiveness of the dread and terror that Perkins has conjured up in the film, that is not only a testament to him as a storyteller, but an experience that will have your heart racing and probably will scar you for life. It’s only matched by his direction in bringing the story to life, aided with cinematography used to mimic old home video cameras to give an eerily real feel to many of the murders in the film. Needless to say, horror fans are in for an absolute treat and any one who does not cope well with scary movies should approach this film with severe caution.


Leading the film is Monroe, and she continues to thrive in the small independent horror genre. As Harker, Monroe fully embodies the intelligent and perceptive young woman with unique abilities that gives her an edge during her investigations. It’s all played with a quiet eeriness that keeps you questioning what Harker’s ties to the Longlegs serial killer could potentially be, as while you know she is not hiding anything from the audience, you know there is more to her story than she is aware of. Easily carrying the narrative on her shoulders, Monroe is truly hypnotizing in her performance, drawing the audience in with a soothing calmness despite the terror that unfolds in the story. Blair Underwood is good as Agent Carter, Harker’s superior with an authoritative yet caring performance, while Alicia Witt leans heavily into the offbeat nature of her character with a strong performance. Kiernan Shipka is unsettling as Carrie Anne, the one surviving child of all the families that Longlegs has killed, leaving her mark on the film in a single scene.


But, every second he is on screen, this is Cage’s film. From his brief appearance in the opening scene, Cage drowns the film in a chilling and absolutely terrifying energy thanks to his unhinged performance. The makeup and prosthetic work for his character instills a visual fear in viewers, but when you hear the inflections in Cage’s voice that creates this soft spoken yet sadistic voice for his character, it instantly sends a chill down your spine. But he doesn’t stop there, as the body movement he does feels unnatural, truly making his character come across as one of the most disturbing individuals you have ever met in a film before. Cage slowly builds the uneasy tension in his character until that interrogation scene, where he unleashes everything he’s got and it is unlike anything you have seen in a horror movie in recent years. He will make your skin crawl, hold your breath in absolute terror and leave you absolutely speechless by the end of that sequence, which is destined to be the scariest scene of the entire year. It’s a truly one of a kind performance that in a perfect world would earn Nicolas Cage major awards consideration in the Best Supporting Actor category, because even a week after seeing the film, Cage’s performance as Longlegs is still pulling a number on me.


It’s hard to imagine that it’s been over twenty years since the last great horror serial killer film with The Silence of the Lambs, but we finally have the first horror film to be worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as it. Osgood Perkins has crafted an impeccable horror film that instantly gets under your skin resulting in one of the most nerve wracking theatrical experiences in recent memory and one of the greatest serial killer horror movies of all time. There is no question that Osgood Perkins’ direction and story ensure that this film will instantly get under your skin and that Maika Monroe’s lead performance is stellar, but it is the unhinged and mortifying performance from Nicolas Cage as the titular serial killer that is the fuel of nightmares that makes Longlegs not only one of the greatest horror films in recent history, but one that you won’t ever forget!

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