‘Longlegs’: Everything to Know About the Horror Film and Nicolas Cage’s Terrifying Transformation – Viral News

Long before hitting theaters or even screening for critics, Longlegs has been hailed as the scariest movie of the year — or possibly even the decade — with particular praise being heaped on the titular serial killer, played to soul-shattering perfection by Nicolas Cage.

With the film’s ad campaign and distribution handled with flawless minimalist flair by Neon, word of mouth began to build early, and Cage’s appearance as Longlegs has been kept largely under wraps — with only a few brief flashes of his horrifying visage surfacing.

Now, with the film hitting theaters on Friday, July 12, ET is taking a look at this hotly anticipated horror thriller and breaking down everything you might want to know before checking it out.

*NOTE: While we will be avoiding any major spoilers and largely sticking to language used in material officially released by Neon, anyone wanting to go in without any advanced knowledge should proceed with caution, or not at all.

WHAT IS THE PREMISE ‘LONGLEGS’?

FBI Agent Lee Harker (Maika Monroe) is assigned to investigate an unsolved serial killer case, and she begins to uncover occult clues that lead to a Satanic murderer, Longlegs (Cage), to whom she may have a personal link.

WHO STARS IN ‘LONGLEGS’?

Maika Monroe leads the chilling thriller, starring as Agent Lee Harker. Monroe is best known for her work in the slow-burn modern horror classic It Follows (2014) and the tense action thriller The Guest (2104).

Maika Monroe at the premiere of ‘Longlegs’ held at the Egyptian Theater on July 8, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

Monroe spoke about her role with IndieWire, explaining, “When I read this for the first time, I was so obsessed with the world… I hadn’t had such a visceral reaction to a script in a long time. This was one of those projects where I was like, ‘I need to do this.'”

“It was crazy, reading the script, because the first 30, 40 pages, I was like, ‘Oh, I know where this is going,’ and then there’s so many great twists that you get to at the end,” she teased.

Meanwhile, Cage plays the titular satanic serial killer Longlegs. The actor underwent a remarkable physical transformation for the role, employing thick pale makeup and minor prosthetics and a long, stringy white/blonde wig to create a nightmarish character who sticks with viewers long after the film is done.

Nicolas Cage at the premiere of ‘Longlegs’ held at the Egyptian Theater on July 8, 2024 in Los Angeles, CaliforniaMatt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The movie also stars Blair Underwood as Lee Harker’s colleague at the FBI, Agent Carter; Alicia Witt as Lee’s mother, Ruth Harker; Kiernan Shipka as Carrie Anne Camera, one of the only known survivors of Longlegs; and Lauren Acala as a young Lee.

WHAT INSPIRED THE CHARACTER OF LONGLEGS?

Nicolas Cage plays nightmarish serial killer Longlegs in director Oz Perkins’ ‘Longlegs.’Neon

Cage has been open about the creation of his character — including both the look and the high-pitched, fragile and almost delicate voice his sinister Longlegs speaks with.

“For some reason, when I read the script, I heard my mother’s voice. And then I met with [director Oz Perkins], at the Polo Lounge. And the first thing he said to me was, ‘Nic, this is a movie about my mother.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s very interesting, Oz, because I was just thinking that I want to make this character about my mom,'” Cage said in a recent interview with The New Yorker

Maika Monroe stars as FBI Agent Lee Harker, opposite Nicolas Cage in ‘Longlegs.’Neon

“She would talk, like, ‘Oooh, Nicky, you looked just like a little bird when you were born.’ And that was just scary,” Cage recalled. “I think my mom did as well as she could with the situation in which she was contending with, but it was still scary. So I thought, ‘O.K., I want to make this character as a sort of homage to my mother.’ Not that she was satanic, but her vocalizations, the way she would move. So that’s why this is so different.”

As for the look, Cage told The Hollywood Reporter that creating the character’s unsettling style and features was all about “finding this very androgynous, he-she look, glam rock look to the character that was important to me so that he didn’t look anything like me and that I found liberating, that I could speak in this way and move in this way and talk about these very dark things.”

WHO DIRECTED ‘LONGLEGS’?

Director Oz Perkins at the premiere of ‘Longlegs’ held at the Egyptian Theater on July 8, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

This acclaimed new horror mystery is helmed by Oz Perkins, who previously directed The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) and 2020’s Gretel & Hansel.

He is also the son of Psycho star and acclaimed filmmaker Anthony Perkins, making him something of a horror legacy in the genre.

However, many may recognize Perkins for one of his acting roles. He played the painfully shy law student Dorky David Kidney in Reese Witherspoon’s 2001 comedy classic Legally Blonde.

WHY ALL THE HYPE?

Aside from the film getting almost universally positive reviews (currently sitting at 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, before its release), the movie’s buzz was helped along by some truly skillful marketing by the distributor, Neon.

Long before a full trailer was released, short enigmatic mini-teasers hit the internet. Less than 30 seconds long, the teasers and cryptic promo images barely even revealed the film’s name, and shared nothing about the story.

However, their brooding atmospheric sense of dread was palpable, and got horror fans excited long before the first full trailer dropped. Then, when it did, nothing about it revealed what the titular serial killer really looked like.

As the promotional period continued, Neon made sure to give hints and teases as to Cage’s look in the film, but nothing too revealing. They also created something like an ARG campaign (similar but less extensive to the kind used while marketing Cloverfield in 2008.)

They put up billboards with a phone number that, when called, played a recording of Longlegs’ haunting voice promising to find the caller.

An elaborate website and cryptic cypher code were also established to build up the world and lore of the film’s frightening universe.

One of the most interesting trailers for the film dropped just days before the film was released, and it was the sound of Monroe’s heartbeat, picked up on a body mic, when seeing Cage in costume for the first time as the freakish occult killer.

“The first time Maika Monroe saw Nicolas Cage as Longlegs, her heart rate hit 170 bpm,” the Instagram caption to the clip explained. The promo itself included a quote from Monroe that read, “When I walked in and saw Nicolas Cage for the first time as Longlegs, that was a visceral experience I’ll never forget.”

WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING ABOUT ‘LONGLEGS’?

The early feedback, for the most part, has been nothing but effusive, with critics claiming that Cage’s performance as Longlegs has literally haunted their nightmares, and that they were unable to shake the gripping terror of the film for days after watching it.

Longlegs hits theaters July 12.

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