Longlegs Review

In the early 2000s, movie studios started using Alternate Reality Games to promote their upcoming movies. I was lucky to participate in a few of these games for The Dark Knight, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Tron Legacy. Each game consisted of a series of clues found online or at certain real-world locations. As the clues were solved more puzzles were unlocked and that led to a link to an advance screening. It has been a while since studios have used these ARGs and leave it to NEON to bring it back in a spectacular way with Longlegs.

Through their Twitter and Instagram, NEON has promoted Longlegs with very little information about the movie and then suddenly started dropping clues for fans to solve. On the website thebirthdaymurders.net fans can enter the found passwords which unlock more clues to the movie. What is being unlocked only deepens the mystery of the movie and is building the hype of it.

Longlegs starts in a 4:3 aspect ratio. For those unfamiliar with that term, the image is only shown in the middle of the screen with black space on both sides. Through this small screen, we see a white station wagon pulling up to a house. A young girl sees the wagon and decides to go outside to see who is in the car. As she walks to the car the sense of dread starts filling the theater. All you hear is her footsteps on the snowy ground and each crunch feels like we are getting closer to death. The director Osgood Perkins has really done a fantastic job of letting the scenery become a character in the movie. As the young girl walks you can’t help but look around to see if something or someone is hiding in the background. She meets a man who says he is there for a birthday party and the camera only shows him from the neck down. Again, Perkins uses the frame of the camera lens to build up the anticipation before the horror that is about to be unleashed.

Courtesy of NEON

We are introduced to Agent Lee Harker, played by Maila Monroe, in a briefing room as the agents are about to look for a suspect. The room is filled with all male agents and Harker is the only female agent. There are a few similarities with Silence of the Lambs in Longlegs, but the movie still feels like its own thing. Harker arrives at a small neighborhood and has a feeling about one of the houses in the area. Her hunch not only proves correct but also draws the attention of her superior, Agent Carter, played by Blair Underwood. After undergoing a series of tests, Agent Harker is included in the case to find the killer known as Longlegs.

She is told that the FBI has 10 letters that were found in the 10 homes of the 10 families that have been murdered. Each letter has the same writing and they are all signed “Longlegs”. Immediately, Harker notices patterns with each of the murders. She finds ways that they are connected but is stuck on whether Longlegs has help with these murders or if they are doing this on their own. Being that the movie takes place during Bill Clinton’s presidency, no smartphones are being used or internet. Harker just has to use microfiche film to look up any stories having to do with the Longlegs murders. As Harker gets deeper in her research we learn a little bit more about her and her mother. Again, this is where Perkins shows his genius by never having Harker in the center of the screen during her moments. Cameras are always shooting her from angles that you see what is behind her and are not sure what is going to happen.

The performance by Maila Monroe is childlike and haunting. She does not talk much and when she does her sentences are short and direct. She seems out of place in certain moments and has awkward exchanges with the people around her. This awkwardness is explained as the movie progresses. Blair Underwood as Agent Carter is a delight to watch. He plays the role of the tenured agent that has been through a lot and this case is starting to take its toll on him. Underwood is perfect in this role right down to the anxiety-inducing finale.

Speaking of anxiety-inducing, Nicolas Cage as Longlegs is terrifying. Cage is known to go all out for some of his roles but in this movie, he takes it really, really, far. His performance is so eerie that it is hard to look at him when he is on the screen. If you have called the phone number promoted in the advertising, 458-666-4355, you are assaulted by a voice that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand. I will not give away anything about his looks but I will say that he is barely recognizable in his Longlegs make-up.

Longlegs is broken down into three parts and as we get closer to the final part you start to feel the creepiness of it all. Harker’s involvement in the case not only pushes her to her limit but also causes tension with the ones she knows. Just like in Seven, each clue and puzzle that is solved leads to more darkness. During her investigation, there is a reference to the 9 circles of Hell and Longlegs murder pattern. With the high level of tension in the final moments of the film, we feel like we have gone through all 9 circles. Longlegs feels more like a psychological horror movie that will be talked and written about and discussed for years to come.

Courtesy of NEON

Final Thoughts: Longlegs is what happens with Silence of the Lambs & Seven have a baby. The mood, the score, and the scares will haunt you long after the movie is over. The ending is very messed up and will not leave you for a few days. Osgood Perkins has made a classic. Maika Monroe is stellar in this and Nicolas Cage is at a full 11 in this movie! This movie will be written about for years to come.

Kid-Friendly: Longlegs is not recommended for children under 17. The movie’s pace is slow and their attention will not last during the slow moments. The character of Longlegs is very creepy and might instill nightmares in them. I would suggest you watch the movie before your kid and decide if your kid can handle it or not.

Violence: The images of the murders are very gruesome. There are scenes of self-harm and the murders as they happen.

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