Filmmaker Jordan Peele has made quite a name for himself in the horror community with his first two movies, “Get Out” and “US.” Can the director go three for three with his newest film, “Nope”?
For the most part, yes.
The film opens on the set of a vintage TV show starring a chimpanzee named Gordy. We’ve entered in the middle of some massive carnage, but then the film jumps forward to a seemingly unrelated near present day ranch in the middle of nowhere.
OJ Hayward (Daniel Kaluuya) is having a random conversation with his father, Otis Sr (Keith David), when mysterious garbage from the sky hits dad in the head.
Jumping forward a few more years, OJ is trying to keep the ranch by continuing the family’s business of wrangling horses on movie sets.
His sister, Emerald “Em” (Keke Palmer), shows up and rides back to the ranch with him, but OJ makes an unexpected detour to Jupiter’s Claim, a California Gold Rush theme park run by Ricky Park (Steven Yeun).
It’s here that the intro scene and the current storyline converge.
Strange things start happening at the Heywood ranch, and the siblings start to realize there is a carnivorous alien preying on the area from the sky.
Do they leave like sane people? Well, that would make this a short film, and “Nope” clocks in a little over two hours.
Part of the joy of watching “Nope” is figuring out what is going on.
That’s not helped, though, by weird edits, fade-outs, and flashbacks that occasionally made the film feel disjointed.
I also didn’t enjoy the way Peele took the Gordy storyline from a character-building flashback to an almost subplot of the film…especially since (BIG TRIGGER WARNING) I don’t like violence with or against animals.
I also wasn’t a fan of the creepy filmmaker character of Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott). He was just unpleasant in every scene he had.
That aside, the main plot line was so well written and acted by the cast, which also includes Brandon Perea as Angel Torres, an electronics store employee who invites himself into what’s going on.
There’s a deft blend of jump scares and humor, and even after Peele shows you the alien, it still manages to get the heart pumping faster, especially during the end of the film.
Overall, if you like psychological sci-fi horror with a mild amount of gore, I suggest you say yes to “Nope.” I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David
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