July 8, 2024

GENRE | Satanic Possession – 'Longlegs' Decodes the Devil

"He'll kill and kill again."
Maika Monroe Nicolas Cage Osgood Perkins | Longlegs Neon
Neon / Elevation Pictures
Longlegs, writer/director Osgood "Oz" Perkins' (son of Psycho actor Anthony Perkins) mid-'90s set serial killer thriller, produced by and co-starring a heavily made-up and nearly unrecognizable Nicolas Cage, dials up the creepy religious horror imagery for a gripping, satanic-tinged experience.

Filmed in Vancouver, Maika Monroe stars as a tightly-wound, hard-edged FBI recruit (in the mould of Clarice Starling from The Silence of the Lambs) hunting down an elusive devil-worshipping murder suspect, the aforementioned Cage as the oddly nicknamed "Longlegs." It's an altogether bonkers yet eerie performance enhanced by the starkly controlled storytelling by Perkins.

In the classic style of mid-budget horror, Longlegs keeps it sparse as it unfolds its occult-themed series of inexplicably unsolved family murders across decades. Co-stars Alicia Witt and Blair Underwood as Monroe's isolated, religious mother and determined superior officer help build the deliberately ratcheted anxiety. While Perkins builds the scary tension to all the killing, how he ultimately reveals what and how the strange murders are happening feel rushed and needlessly over-explained.

Longlegs mostly satisfies its terrifyingly unholy premise about unexplained murders, satanic worship, and an odd connection linking the killings together in a deeply unsettling fashion. I only wish the diabolically gnarly film had more confidence in its own execution without needing the build to a scattered crescendo of reveals before what's really happening is presented.

More | Inverse / Slashfilm

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