Home ‘Longlegs’ has all it all: gore, Satan, an unrecognizable Nicolas Cage

‘Longlegs’ has all it all: gore, Satan, an unrecognizable Nicolas Cage

movie filming
(© Georgii – stock.adobe.com)

Longlegs is the buzziest and most unsettling horror movie out this year. A psychological mystery/thriller a la Silence of the Lambs or Season 1 of True Detective, mixed with Satanic panic, Longlegs is sure to have something scary for all horror fans: there’s some gore, there’s Satan, and there’s an unrecognizable Nicolas Cage.

Longlegs opens with a car pulling up to a house where a little girl sits in the window where she appears to be alone in this house. She goes outside to see who’s come to the house, as she lives in a pretty secluded area. The shots here are like watching an old home video – they’re grainy and the rounded edges suggest this is a prologue to what’s coming.

The opening scene is tense and unsettling and that energy does not let up all movie long. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat, tense with fear, for the whole one hundred and one minutes. From there, we move forward to the ’90s, as easily picked up by the giant framed portrait of Bill Clinton in the FBI office. Lee Harker (played by Maika Monroe, of It Follows), is a new FBI agent, whose first case is looking for the serial killer Longlegs (played by Nicolas Cage). Harker works with Agent Carter (played by Blair Underwood) to figure out who killed these ten families and how they were killed because right now, the murders seem inexplicable. Is there a rational, serial killer explanation or does it all go back to the Devil?

The online marketing for this movie has been nuts; Neon released a few teaser trailers five months ago, with titles such as “Remember to Say Your Prayers” and “Every Year There Is Another.” They put these out with no movie title and then started releasing movie posters for Longlegs. When they finally released a real trailer, Neon made sure to make sure you couldn’t see Longlegs face, a tactic they have kept up through all trailers and posters. Keeping Longlegs’ face a mystery has really been adding to the hype that this is the scariest movie of the year. Neon also released a video where Maika Monroe sees Nicolas Cage as Longlegs for the first time and you can hear her heart rate spike to 170 bpm.

The pacing in Longlegs is incredible – it’s so intense and scary the entire way through, in a way I haven’t felt since Silence of the Lambs. The pacing and plot move really well; this doesn’t drag around the middle or feel like too much was left unsaid or ill-explained. Osgood Perkins also does a great job of straddling the line of realism and the occult without going too far to either side. I was especially fascinated by the filming of this. The shots alternate between being incredibly close to Harker, like we, the audience, are with Longlegs following her or the far, voyeuristic view where you get the sense Longlegs is watching from far away. His eyes are all seeing and all knowing. Pay close attention to the framing of each scene as they really add to the perspectives of the characters.

Longlegs is the perfect summer horror movie and is playing in theaters July 12th. Check out the scariest movie of the decade and hope your birthday doesn’t fall on the 14th!

Larissa Goalder is on Substack at jam jars in the cellar of your heart.