Over the years, there have been many visionary directors within the genre of horror. With a confident imagination and intriguing ideas, they often deliver stories that are incredibly interesting and utterly unforgettable. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Nope is a spine-chilling tale of spectacle containing an abundance of entertainment and terror. Driven by a wonderful duo of actors, this fusion of horror and drama is one of 2022’s best viewing experiences.
Following the death of their father, a man and his sister soon discover that their farm is being visited by an unknown entity. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer are our protaganists. They are joined by Brandon Perea, Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott.
With his first two features, Jordan Peele made it clear that symbolism was important to him. Get Out had the facade of a race-fueled story while the core of the picture had more mysterious intentions. On the other hand, Us appeared to be a home invasion thriller but was almost entirely focused on metaphoric meaning by the end. The former film handled its symbolism in an effective manner while the latter ended up being a narrative disaster. However, with both releases, Peele was quite heavy-handed in his thematic approach. This brings us to Nope, a movie that is superbly subtle when it comes to its subtext, a quality that elevates it beyond expectations.
There is a feeling of maturity that flows throughout Nope. There are a few comedic moments here and there but this is an earnest story told from the perspective of individuals that have suffered a great deal in the past. Surprisingly, this blends well with the terrifying scenario at the centre of the film. Even during elevated set-pieces, the narrative maintains its humanity and frightening nature. In fact, the end of the movie features quite a few scenes on a large scale but it all feels earned and never detracts from the sections of horror that appear prior.
This is not a release for those expecting scares around every corner, but it is one for people that would like to encounter some truly hair-raising sequences that will stick in their mind for a long time. By taking the perspective of its characters, viewers are given the opportunity to experience true tension and terror. Again, these instances aren’t abundant but they are impactful when they appear. Thankfully, Peele understands that real horror arrives not with what you show but rather with what is hidden.
A big reason why the aforementioned scenes work so well is because of how well-made the film is. Jordan Peele is masterful in his directing role and he has surrounded himself with a skilful crew. Notably, Hoyte Van Hoytema manages to capture many gorgeous environments with his cinematography and Michael Abels propels a lot of the story’s dread with his music.
Alongside the technical aspects, the feature is led by a talented cast that ties everything together. Keke Palmer is excellent but it is Daniel Kaluuya that steals the show. His character is unlike anyone that you will see in blockbuster cinema and Kaluuya plays him outstandingly well. While we are on this topic, it is worth mentioning one negative. Michael Wincott is decent in his role but he plays an individual that is unfortunately underdeveloped when you consider how much he appears in the finale. This doesn’t detract from the movie much but it is a blemish on an otherwise stellar story.
Following the exceptionally disappointing Us, Jordan Peele has returned with a film that takes his career to a new level. Nope is entertaining, thrilling and very creepy, often all at the same time. There is no doubt that this is a must-watch release for all fans of cinema.