HOLLYWOOD—Jordan Peele, he has been coined the new face of horror, but I beg to differ. His “Get Out” was something never seen before, but I’ll be honest unlike other critics I didn’t love it. It was being sold as a horror movie, but in reality it was a suspense thriller, a big difference people. I thought “Us” was a much better movie that would have been more satisfying if people hadn’t spoiled the twist to me. Now we have his third entry with the alien invasion genre with “Nope.”
I had low expectations going into the theater to see this flick, but ultimately found myself pleased with the outcome. Why? You think you know where things are headed, but then curveballs come your way that totally change the direction of the movie people. For starters, I think Daniel Kaluuya is a phenomenal in this flick he really carries the bulk of the drama and intensity that slowly, but surely starts to build as the narrative pushes.
Keke Palmer is a standout as Emerald, his younger sister, who helps him keep their father’s ranch, where they raise and train horses afloat. Could you argue Keke is a bit much? Perhaps, but I believe that was the intended purpose of the character. One that is full of energy and just waiting for an outlet to release it. With those standouts, I had no clue of the purpose of Steven Yeun’s character, Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park who in Hollywood terms is a washed up actor.
He owns a theme park known as “Jupiter’s Claim,” but his backstory doesn’t add enough to the narrative for me. The opening of the movie sends a signal that something may be array, but when the audience finally discovers how the opening connects with the rest of the movie, you scratch your head saying really? The payoff is not worth the build up with Ricky’s character.
However, when you take that element out, and focus on Peele’s thematic focus of fame at the highest level you start to question why we’re so concerned with going viral or having those 15 minutes of fame. Is fame the big theme of the movie? No, but Peele toys with that notion of what people will do to earn their big break, which includes trying to capture this alien that has been hiding in plain sight for a period of time that strikes when you least know it, particularly looking directly at it.
The reveal of the alien is not worth the buildup of tension that Peele forces the audience to endure. One thing that Peele does exceptionally well is creating suspense and that element keeps you immersed in this movie. An alien or aliens are killing people, the first thought is to get the hell out, but when you see characters do dumb things, it annoys you, but at the same time you want to see how it plays out on the big screen. Peele has a great knack for capturing grandeur with the camera in a way that places the viewer in the actual scene, that major attack by the alien on the Haywood ranch is a moment worth watching over and over again.
Brandon Perea and Michael Wincott are solid as supporting players in the thriller, but hands done Palmer and Kaluuya carry this narrative. This is there movie and they are the heart and soul of it. The sibling dynamic is something we’re seeing more and more in horror, just look at the 2022 version of “Scream” if you need more evidence. I found the second and third act of the film more enthralling, I wasn’t weaving in and out of focus, I was focused and eager to see what was going to happen next and the final climatic battle I was thoroughly impressed with. Peele sold the film in a way that worked and I found not just fascinating to watch, but spooky in the worst possible way (but in a good way people).