Longlegs: the horror movie people are calling ‘the best serial killer film in recent memory’

Early viewers of Nicolas Cage’s new film have claimed Longlegs is the best serial killer horror to be released since The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

Directed by Oz Perkins (Gretel & Hansel, I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House), the film follows FBI agent Lee Harker (Maika Monroe) as she investigates a series of murders attributed to a Satanic killer known as Longlegs (Cage) in the 1990s.

Longlegs is slated for release in the UK on Friday, 12 July – the same day as the movie’s wider US release. However, early screenings of the film have already triggered a slew of praise for Perkins’ fourth feature.

Writing on X/Twitter, Matt Neglia, editor of Next Best Picture called Longlegs “one of the best serial killer films in recent memory”, adding that the movie was “psychologically scarring” as well as “sinister” and an “unnerving descent into hell that will haunt your mind and soul”.

Another early viewer added that the film had left them “on the verge of tears in terror” and advised moviegoers not to see Longlegs alone.

Longlegs is the best serial killer horror film since The Silence of the Lambs,” another fan claimed. “Oz Perkins infuses dread/terror into every single frame. Utterly terrifying and unsettling, Maika Monroe is hypnotic, while Nicolas Cage will haunt your nightmares.”

Some Longlegs audience members reported they’d struggled to shake off the fear that “lingered” long after leaving the cinema. One person questioned: “Saw Longlegs this morning and now I’m just supposed to... carry on with my day? It’s like Osgood Perkins saw Silence of the Lambs and thought, ‘Nah, not f***ed up enough for me.’”

Maika Monroe in ‘Longlegs’ (NEON)
Maika Monroe in ‘Longlegs’ (NEON)

Nicolas Cage’s terrifying transformation into the killer at the film’s centre isn’t fully visible in the Longlegs trailer. The actor told Entertainment Weekly that this decision is the equivalent to “driving people towards a freak show at a circus tent”.

“We’ve got the thing behind the curtain, and when there’s enough people gathered around, we’re going to pull the curtain,” he said. “It’s the equivalent of putting a warning label on a jar of nitroglycerin.”

Of his character, the star added: “The monster is a highly, highly dangerous substance. The way it’s moved, unveiled, deployed has to be treated very carefully.

“Forget about the movie theater blowing up; the whole city could blow up, nay the country, maybe even the world. He is going to change your reality. Your doors of perception are going to open, and your life is not going to be the same.”

Nicolas Cage in ‘Longlegs’ (NEON)
Nicolas Cage in ‘Longlegs’ (NEON)

Following the reactions to early screenings of Longlegs, Perkins said he has been shocked that viewers found his film so disturbing.

“I’m somewhat surprised that people are so kind of terrified by it and find it to be so intense and so gnarly and so grotesque and so brutal,” he told IndieWire.

“I never set out to make anybody feel bad. I don’t know that any filmmaker necessarily does, although there’s a couple of people who I wonder if their intention is to make people feel bad. I don’t like those movies at all. But for me, honestly, I just tried to make something that was good and that people would want to enjoy.”