Complete A-Z list



Stars: Maika Monroe, Nicolas Cage, Alicia Witt, Blair Underwood, Michelle Choi-Lee

Director: Osgood Perkins

Though hardly the 'scariest film of the decade' as advertised on the posters, this, for the most part, is a nicely-made horror film by director Perkins (son of Anthony), who also scripted. If the film-making's good, it's the later plot points that let the film down. Extracting some hearty cackles from the preview audience, some of these are just plain daft.

There are echoes (but alas only echoes) of The Silence of the Lambs in the early stages of the set-up, as rookie FBI agent Lee Harker (a sturdy performance by Monroe) is assigned to the gruesome case of ordinary families being slaughtered by their fathers, who seemed to have been under some kind of demonic influence.

Notes at the scenes of the crimes are signed 'Longlegs'. Longlegs (Cage at his manic best, or worst, according to taste) is a grinning, straw-haired scarecrow of a man who speaks in a high-pitched whine, and seems to know all about Lee. She's a near-psychic codebreaker whose birthday approaches, a fateful day on which the daughters of the slaughtered families also had birthdays.

Although the action starts dodgily - Harker, seeing her partner gunned down while investigating a house, doesn't say 'Officer down, send backup' but goes into the house on her own - but soon settles down into a solid, doomy narrative with one or two genuinely shivery moments, before going more than a bit doolally at the end.

David Quinlan

Canada/USA 2023. UK Distributor: Black Bear. Colour by FotoKem.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 08 Jul 2024