Longlegs (2024) | Review

Hold onto your shower curtains, folks! Osgood Perkins, son of Psycho’s Anthony Perkins, has graced us with yet another directorial masterpiece. And by masterpiece, I mean a film that’s about as groundbreaking as finding out water is wet. Welcome to “Longlegs,” a horror flick that’s been hyped more than a new iPhone release.

Now, before you sprint to the theater, let me save you some disappointment. This isn’t the second coming of horror that some overzealous genre sites might have led you to believe. It’s more like the awkward cousin of horror who shows up to family gatherings and tries too hard to impress. It is basically a serial killer thriller that’s one part “Silence of the Lambs,” one part “The Omen,” and a sprinkle of “How to Make Your Audience Roll Their Eyes at Predictable Twists 101.” Perkins has managed to throw every serial killer trope into a blender, hit puree, and serve it up with a side of supernatural garnish. Yum. (All joking aside – for the moment, anyway – I did see both “big twists” coming from very early on.)

The film kicks off with a reasonably creepy prologue set on a bleak, snowy day. We get a partial glimpse of our villain as he’s approaching his next victim on her ninth birthday – nothing says “Happy Birthday” like imminent doom! Oh, and he’s a fan of 1970s glam rock. Because… reasons?

Fast forward to the mid-1990s, where Satanic killings are all the rage in the Pacific Northwest. Enter our protagonist, rookie FBI agent Lee Harker, played by Maika Monroe. She’s got a “strong intuition” that apparently qualifies as a superpower in the FBI. Her boss calls her “half-psychic,” which is code for “plot convenience.” Monroe’s character is a breath of fresh air – if by fresh air, you mean a character who never smiles, always looks terrified, and has the emotional range of a pet rock.

The plot thickens faster than instant pudding. We’ve got ten houses, ten families, husbands killing wives and children before offing themselves. And the cherry on top? A letter signed “Longlegs” at every crime scene. It’s like the Zodiac killer decided to rebrand and go corporate.

Speaking of the Zodiac, Perkins throws in more serial killer references than a true crime podcast marathon. We’ve got the Zodiac’s code, the Green River Killer’s stomping grounds, and Ted Bundy’s VW Bug. It’s like Serial Killer Bingo, and we’ve all won the grand prize.

Nicolas Cage is playing the serial killer, and why not? Imagine Buffalo Bill, but if Robin Williams decided to play him after a three-day energy drink binge. It’s peculiar, it’s gonzo, it’s… surprisingly underused in the film. Go figure. To be honest, I’m still on the fence about Cage’s performance – I’m guessing (maybe hoping?) there will be a prequel that explores the killer’s motives and persona further.

Perkins sticks to his guns with his signature slow-burn style. It’s so slow, in fact, you might want to check if your watch is still ticking. The cinematography is crisp and digital, perfect for those who enjoy feeling absolutely nothing while watching a movie. And let’s not forget the wide-angle shots that are used so frequently, you’ll start to wonder if the camera operator’s finger got stuck. The sound design, however, is a true star. It’s so good, it actually manages to overshadow the 80s throwback score. There are also a few T-Rex songs thrown in, because nothing says “terrifying serial killer” like “Bang a Gong (Get It On).”

Don’t get me wrong. “Longlegs” isn’t a total wash. It’s a stylishly realized descent into hell, filled with memorable horror imagery and deeply unsettling undertones. It’s just a shame that the script telegraphs itself more obviously than a mime in a box. Stories of people fainting, throwing up, and fleeing screenings? Sorry, marketing folks have been using that ploy since the days of William Castle. The movie is unsettling, sure, but it’s not terrifying by any means. There are a few gruesome scenes (maggot-infested bodies, axes flying at heads as if possessed by Paul Bunyan), but there’s little suspense or dread to lead up to these horrific scenarios.


So, should you see “Longlegs”? If you enjoy stylish horror films that prioritize atmosphere over originality, and you don’t mind predicting every “twist” faster than you can say “It was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick,” then yeah, give it a shot. Just don’t expect to be blown away – unless you’re easily startled by wide-angle shots and the occasional T-Rex song. In that case, bring a fainting couch and some smelling salts. You’re in for a reasonably entertaining ride (in a VW Bug).

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