Longlegs review: Even Nic Cage can't save this disappointing horror


Searching for a truly frightening horror film is a difficult and unappreciated job. It feels like sifting through a barren wasteland filled with nothing but dry bones and little excitement.

In the past year, Talk to Me scared viewers with its intense moments, while Sydney Sweeney delivered a standout performance in Immaculate. However, the exorcism movies starring Russell Crowe were mediocre, and the attempt to revive The Exorcist was a complete failure.

Excitement and anticipation were at a peak following the release of the Longlegs trailer. Full of quick cuts of scary images, accompanied by intense and chaotic sound, and displaying numerous five-star ratings (although all from horror critics), this movie seemed like it would terrify audiences.

It starts with a typical introduction scene from the 1970s of a young girl being approached outside her house by a strange person talking gibberish (their face hidden, but it's no surprise that it turns out to be the eccentric Nicolas Cage).

It is quite refreshing that the opening credits are in a striking blood-red color and feature a quote from T-Rex's Bang a Gong (Get it On). We are then transported to the 1990s with a grungy instrumental version of that track. The glam rock of T-Rex is an unexpectedly unique allusion to the rebellious themes of rock music, as opposed to the more commonly referenced Black Sabbath.

Things are looking good as we meet new FBI agent Lee Harker (played by Maika Monroe) who is working on the unsolved case of Longlegs, a serial killer who seems to have the ability to make families harm themselves without being present. The only clue left behind at each crime scene is a letter written in a mysterious alphabet, signed by the killer as "Longlegs".

Harker is the main investigator in this case because her boss, played by Blair Underwood, is in desperate need of help. She is described as being "half-psychic" which can be very convenient. What's even more frustrating is that she can seemingly understand the killer's motives and plans without much effort. It's almost too easy for her to crack the code and solve the murderer's algorithm with just a few notes. It's questionable if algorithms were even a thing back in the 1990s.

Now let's return to that "truly frightening" question. The terrifying, crazy noise in the trailer has disappeared and has been replaced by the typical eerie sounds. It's not scary at all. Jump scares are also rare. Like maggot-infested corpses? You'll see them. Feeling a sense of impending doom? I didn't feel that at all.

Filmmaker Oz Perkins, who happens to be the son of Psycho actor Anthony Perkins (a fun fact for fans of family connections in Hollywood), includes some quick, unexpected scenes of bubbling liquid and moving snakes in the film. It could have been scarier if I understood the reason behind these unsettling moments.

There is a bit more to the story (involving mothers and creepy dolls), but it is too simplistic and obvious. In the end, everything points to the full reveal of Longlegs.

Nicolas Cage looks like a messy glam rock dinosaur that has had too much plastic surgery. He usually brings crazy energy to his roles, but in this film, he just screams incoherently. It's a letdown.

Before it finally ended, I found myself tiredly muttering to myself, "Can this be finished soon?" Then, shortly after, I thought, "Please, can they all just perish?"

Die-hard fans of horror movies may absolutely love this (they might have a higher standard than the rest of us), but for casual fans, the quest for truly frightening films goes on...

Longlegs will be shown in theaters starting on July 12.

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