Longlegs review: "A little Nicolas Cage goes a long way in this deeply disconcerting experience"

Maika Monroe in Longlegs
(Image: © Neon)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

An authentically scary dance with the devil that instantly places Perkins among modern horror’s classiest practitioners.

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

A little Nicolas Cage goes a terrifyingly long way in writer/director Osgood Perkins’ Longlegs, a serial-killer-procedural-slash-occult-delving creepfest that confidently echoes the likes of The Silence of the Lambs and David Fincher’s Zodiac before spinning off wildly on its own diabolical axis. 

Maika Monroe assumes the Jodie Foster role as Lee Harker, an introverted FBI newbie whose near-psychic intuition could be the key to ending a barbaric string of whole-family slaughters in '90s Oregon. Cage, meanwhile, is the film’s titular Lecter: an unctuous predator with a frizzy mop, sing-song cadence and puffy prosthetics that make him weirdly resemble Celia Weston in Shyamalan’s The Village.

Kicking off in the same rounded-square ratio used in David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, Longlegs unnerves from the get-go by having a little girl face a wintry encounter with a wheedling, half-viewed Cage. It takes a while for Perkins (2020’s Gretel & Hansel) to double back to this blood-curdling preamble, by which time we have become fully invested in Maika’s Lee, her genial boss (Blair Underwood) and her vexed relationship with her anxious mother (Alicia Witt).

The horrors, like Cage himself, are largely kept off-screen for much of the movie’s duration. Yet with its eerie soundscape and sepulchral visuals, Longlegs nevertheless succeeds as a deeply disconcerting experience, one that burrows into the brain as insidiously as the innocuous means its villain employs to disseminate his evil. Elsewhere, Sabrina herself, Kiernan Shipka, makes a spiky psych-ward cameo that sees her throw some of 2024’s most memorable insults Lee’s way. 

Longlegs is released in UK cinemas and US theaters on July 12. 

For more scares, here's all the upcoming horror movies on the way in 2024 as well as  our round-up of the best horror movies of all time.

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.