‘Longlegs’ Is Well-Made Nonsense


FBI agent Lee Harker, played by Maika Monroe, attempts to decipher the secret messages in the letters from notorious serial murderer 'Longlegs' in the latest movie by writer-director Osgood Perkins.

In the initial seventy minutes of the latest movie Longlegs by writer-director Osgood Perkins, it takes inspiration from the darker themes found in David Fincher's work. Drawing from films like Seven, Zodiac, and the Netflix show Mindhunter, Longlegs offers a twist on familiar concepts that keeps viewers interested. The story follows an FBI agent fixated on capturing a twisted serial killer who is crafting a mysterious narrative only he and the agent can decipher. These themes have been explored in film for almost forty years, starting with Will Graham's pursuit of Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's 1986 crime film Manhunter.

After investing a lot of time creating a dark and gloomy world, Longlegs suddenly introduces a supernatural element. This twist isn't entirely surprising, as the film has been marketed as a horror movie from the start. Maika Monroe, a well-known actress in the horror genre, plays an FBI agent who is attuned to Longlegs' disturbing thoughts and actions.

Longlegs is a film that keeps viewers in suspense throughout its duration, leaving them to ponder over the mystery presented to them. The story takes place in the 1990s, with Longlegs being responsible for murders dating back to the 1970s. How is it possible for someone to commit these crimes without being physically present at the scenes? For fans of locked-room mysteries, this may seem like an enticing premise, but the resolution of the mystery may leave you disappointed. The final portion of the film fails to live up to its promising beginning.

This is not a situation where you should stick to one specific type of movie or mix genres that don't belong together. Movies blending crime with occult themes have been around for a while, like in the old movie The Wicker Man. The issue here is that as the film transitions into supernatural territory, the storyline becomes confusing. The once clear and straightforward plot gets tangled up as the movie reaches its final act. The supernatural aspects seem like a convenient explanation for why the movie loses its focus towards the end.

Nicholas Cage portrays the character of 'Longlegs,' a serial killer, in the latest movie directed and written by Osgood Perkins.

Maika Monroe gives a solid performance as Agent Harker in the Longlegs case. Despite her character feeling a bit one-dimensional, she manages to make more progress than any other agent before her. Her portrayal of Harker as an observer rather than a participant in the action made me think of Sofia Helin's character in the show "The Bridge" who had autism. Monroe's performance leaves the possibility open for Harker to have some sort of spectrum disorder, although it is never directly addressed in the film.

It's great to see Blair Underwood playing the boss of Harker, who cleverly follows her lead to catch their suspect. He plays the role of a bureaucrat in the movie, but adds humor and depth to his character. Underwood has always been a naturally charming actor on screen and he showcases that talent once again in this film. Nicholas Cage delivers a surprisingly controlled performance as the serial killer. His intense moments blend well with the overall tone of the film without going over the top.

Osgood Perkins is obviously a skilled director. Longlegs has the gritty appearance of a low-budget crime movie shot on film. The use of different aspect ratios for flashbacks, while a technique that is becoming overused, fits well with the story's time period. It's a well-crafted thriller that mixes crime and horror elements, but it gets caught up in the many ideas Perkins tries to incorporate into the 100-minute film.

If that happens, it's often the fault of the script. Like many movies in this category, you have to stop questioning things and just go along with it, but the film does establish some rules for itself. However, as the story unfolds, every answer just leads to more unanswered questions. Even the supposed big surprise in the middle of the movie didn't feel like much of a shock - I saw it coming from the beginning.

Ultimately, the mystery is not very mysterious. Use your detective skills like Scooby Doo and it will be very easy to uncover who is helping Longlegs. When it comes to the supernatural aspect, just remember the advice from Waylon Jennings in 1973: "The devil may have influenced me the first time, but the second time I acted on my own."

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