‘Longlegs is an Unsettling, Terrifying Horror Masterpiece (Review)

by | Jul 11, 2024


One of the best horror movies of the last 20 years, Longlegs grips you from the opening scene and doesn’t let go.

There have been three horror movies in the past decade that will go down as all-time classics (or unforgettable at the very least). One is Robert Eggers’ terrifying folklore film The Witch, another is Ari Aster’s Hereditary, and now Osgood Perkins’ Longlegs. While the stories are very different in all three films, there is one thing they have in common: as a viewer, you feel like you’re watching something you should not be seeing. Longlegs stands out as the most cohesive of the three films, and will certainly be discussed for years to come.

The story follows Agent Lee Harker (Maika Monroe), as she works to track down a serial killer who has seemingly been the mastermind behind families being killed in murder/suicides for over 20 years .The interesting aspect is that the killer, Longlegs (Nicolas Cage), only leaves anagram notes at each crime scene and there is no evidence to suggest he is killing them at all. The question is, how is he MAKING these families do horrific things? Harker and her colleagues at the FBI struggle to make sense of what is going on with Longlegs. But Harker has a knack for solving his anagrams which brings them closer to finding him as the film slowly begins to unveil the horrific nature and connectivity of everything going on.

The tone in Longlegs is unbelievably unsettling and eerie. Everything from the cinematography, color grading, score, and brilliant performance from Maika Monroe creates such a sense of dread and fear throughout. Monroe herself is just meant for the horror genre. Her facial expressions and grounded performance add so much to the film that makes for her best film performance to date. In addition to all of that, Nicolas Cage’s portrayal of Longlegs is masterful. Sure, he is not on screen as much as you might think. But when he is, you simply can’t look away. It’s wild how Cage is seemingly only getting better with age.

But what makes Longlegs a true horror masterpiece is the story. I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw a movie that has such a concise, dementing story. The pacing and suspense are perfect, making it truly difficult to guess what’s coming next. As more critics have seen the movie, there have been some questions on whether Longlegs is a crime thriller or horror movie. Make no mistake, this is without a doubt a horror movie and I was actually surprised at how scary it is – especially in the third act. These aren’t jump scares, though. This is true horror grounded in realism that relies on an ominous tone and the realization that someone like Longlegs could actually exist. Those aspects make your skin crawl and makes for a drive home from the movies in silence as you digest what you just watched.

Up until this weekend, Dune: Part Two was the best movie of 2024. However, Longlegs has now dethroned it. Similar to Hereditary in particular, this is one that people will be talking about for the remainder of the year and could even receive a few Academy Award nominations if Neon’s excellent awards team markets the film well heading into the fall. The best advice I can give when it comes to this film is to go into it as cold as possible. I watched no trailers prior to seeing it in a theater earlier this week and that made for an even more shocking viewing experience. In a time where where audiences crave originality, Longlegs more than fits the bill and is a must-see in theaters.

RATING: ★★★★★

(out of five stars)