How 'Longlegs' Became the Most Hyped Horror Film of 2024

But what is it about Longlegs that is sending everyone into hype train overdrive? Is it really that exceedingly brilliant? Aside from reviews, its 94% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes suggests the consensus around it is pretty positive. But it isn’t without its detractors—such as a two star write-up in the Evening Standard, which describes Cage as “pitifully disappointing”—and a lot of the positive reviews are a little more muted than one might expect from a film decorated online as Satan’s gift to horror.

There are a couple of other factors that seem to have come into play. First off, the Cagenaissance, a period in which the actor— who fell into the critical doldrums in the 2010s after a series of duds—has won back a lot of credit among cult movie fans. This is primarily because he has been brave and bold enough to break away from studio churn, trying out new ideas on the independent circuit, such as in the aforementioned Pig, for which he won ample acclaim. The product of this is that Cage, leveraging the (somewhat cruel) meme status that he acquired in the dog days, has found a loyal following of genre enthusiasts who will, quite happily, watch everything he does.

But also, horror has enjoyed a huge boom over the last couple of years, and has become one of the few genres that is consistently bankable at the cinema in the age of Marvel and streaming. In 2022, gnarly thriller Smile made back over ten-times its budget for a $217.4 million total worldwide. The same year saw Zach Cregger’s Barbarian take $45.4 million on a budget between $4 and 4.5 million. 2023 teemed with nasty hits, too, from Skinamarink to A24’s Talk to Me, the latter of which became the filmbro fave studio’s highest grossing horror movie to date. Even in an age where we’re often sticking with Netflix, there’s real appetite for shared scares. After all, who wants to watch a horror movie alone?

And this ain’t your grandad’s horror, no no. Palettes have adjusted in recent years, and new audiences have developed a taste for inventive takes on the genre, such as with the craze around auteurs of evil Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary) and Robert Eggers (The Witch, the forthcoming Nosferatu remake). As the studio behind the pair’s cultiest hits, this style of filmmaking is most associated with A24. Now, it seems like Longlegs distributor Neon—kind of like A24’s cooler schoolyard nemesis—wants a nice, bloody slice of the weird-out pie.

So, there it is: film heads would live for nothing less than Cage doing his creepy, gnarliest best. The scale of the rewards are yet to be seen, but as far as we can tell? If you want to build buzz in Hollywood, make a horror flick with Nic Cage. Failing that, Hugh Grant.

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