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Jordan Peele checks out all the horror boxes with “Nope”

Jordan Peele checks out all the horror boxes with “Nope”

Horror films can often feel cheap when it relies on jump scares or obvious stereotypes. However, Nope, and all of Jordan Peele’s horror films don’t go that usual route. This time, Peele takes his audience into a western and science-fiction adventure all while frightening them within two hours and fifteen minutes. Nope has an engaging plot, a terrifying antagonist, and characters that you want to stay alive even when all odds seem to go against them. It has all the elements that make it a perfect modern horror film to watch.

Jordan Peele checks out all the horror boxes with “Nope”

The film is set in the dusty gulch of California where something sinister is hiding in its skies. Horse trainers OJ Haywood and his sister Emerald Haywood attempt to catch photographic evidence of their new neighbor with the help of a reclusive filmmaker Antler Holst, and a too-curious hardware employee Angel Torres.

Nope (2022) Official Trailer | YouTube

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, the summer horror film was theatrically released last July 2022. It performed very well at the box office, grossing over $120 million domestically. It also received generally favorable reviews from critics, including an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nope works well; and here’s why:

This movie has everything: disappearing horses, family trauma, a rampaging chimpanzee wearing a birthday hat, and men who don’t listen to trained animal experts. I already have high expectations for the film because I liked Jordan Peele’s previous work. And, Nope surely does not disappoint.

If I had to point out something definitive that makes this movie work so well it is its characters. The characters in this film were on a different level. I was so used to characters in horror films that did not have an ounce of common sense. Part of the film’s appeal to me is its main characters’ competence.

I particularly liked OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) because they really did carry the film on their backs, owing to the onscreen chemistry KaIuuya and Palmer had as siblings. They were able to switch from hilarious moments to spine-chilling scenes so seamlessly.

Another notable mention is Steven Yeun as Jupe, the child actor turned amusement park owner was incredible in his role as well. The parallels between his character and Kaluuya’s storyline are something to pay attention to in the film.

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A spectacular story from beginning to end

Nothing makes me happier than a visually-pleasing film, and Nope delivers in this aspect. Watching the movie was food for the eyes. Its cautious and slow world-building shots give hints about the real monsters at play. Every scene escalated the tension between the antagonist and the characters that even waiting for the tension to break was part of why the movie was scary.

Storytelling-wise, the plot of the film was gripping and made my heart feel like it went on a marathon because of the anxiety-inducing scenes. While it does have some jumpscares, its most terrifying scenes aren’t the ones you’d expect. The climax in the movie was intense and succinct.

It left me feeling claustrophobic and worrying about what was to come after. I especially liked the scenes near the end when they were putting their plan in motion. They were probably the most nerve-wracking and visually-gorgeous scenes I’ve ever seen from Peele’s work.

The best kind of movies is the ones that have a story within a story. Nope on the surface is about an unwelcome, malevolent alien but when you dig deeper, tells the story of exploitation and the difference between knowing and understanding an animal. If you’re a horror fan who loves intricate and deeply disturbing plots in a horror films, Nope (2022) is the movie for you.

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