Nope is a 2022 movie written and directed by Jordan Peele. It’s a horror, sci-fi movie, but I would arguably throw thriller into the mix as well. I really enjoyed this movie, especially since I don’t usually love horror films.
Nope is worth watching, from the characters to the plot. It’s a decently paced movie that doesn’t waste a ton of time. The combination of comedy and horror worked really well for me, and I didn’t miss the jump scares what so ever. The visuals are beautiful and our actors did a really good job.
Who is in Nope?
Nope contains a fairly small cast, with only a few true protagonists. If you have seen the trailer, you know that our story follows two main characters, OJ and Emerald Hayward. OJ Howard, played by Daniel Kaluuya, is a hard working man with the weight of the world on his shoulders after losing his father. Emerald Hayward, played by Keke Palmer, is a free spirit who moved away from the ranch not too long ago but has come back to help support her brother. These two are wonderfully written, with enough similarities that you can tell they are siblings without so many that it becomes weird. It feels natural and I really enjoy it.
Our other three “main”-ish characters are Angel Torres, Antlers Holst, and Ricky Park. Angel Torres, played by Brandon Perea, is our tech-support guy and some solid comic relief. We know very little about his backstory or anything like that but as a superficial character he works well. Antlers Holst, played by Michael Wincott, is a videographer at the highest level. He is also a prick. Obviously done on purpose and it creates a character that fits a category of people pretty darn well. Ricky Park, played by Steven Yeun, is the owner of an amusement park down the hill from the ranch. I won’t get into too many details, but Ricky was the most confusing character in this movie.
Should you Watch Nope?
I think you should watch Nope. That’s about as simple as I can make this. It’s a stellar horror film that kept me entertained throughout. The characters are really good, and I enjoyed the plot. The lack of information about certain details allows every viewer to interpret the movie a little bit differently. I have to warn you that this isn’t a typical horror movie, it has nearly 0 jump scares. That just isn’t the kind of scary Jordan Peele decided to employ. To be totally honest it isn’t super scary anyways, but it’s a great thriller.
Most horror movies I have seen lack plot or rely too heavily on scary aspects to cover up the fact that there really isn’t a story behind it. Nope actually has the opposite issue. I didn’t mind it, but some people are going to struggle with the first half of Nope. It’s a ton of character work and plot set-up, and it feels somewhat like a drama. It 100% pays off in the end, but it does feel like a slow slug to begin with. The second half of the plot is where everything starts to move in double speed and we get into the best shots of the movie. I thought the overall story was really good, and the plot was solid, but there was a sub-plot that I have yet to figure out, I’ll discuss that in the spoilers section to avoid anger.
Our 5 characters mentioned above really carry this movie to victory. While the story is good, we need that acting and those characters to make the story meaningful. The first hour creates emotional attachment to OJ and Emerald, and Angel adds a different vibe to our cast. Daniel Kaluuya is awesome in Nope, perfectly embodying his character and making you feel slightly broken man. He also has his moments of comedy here and there, but not a large part of this movie. Keke Palmer was equally good. Where Kaluuya was serious and stoic, Palmer brought some relaxation and amusement to our duo. While some of that is writing, they did a wonderful job of showing it on the big screen. Palmer plays off of Kaluuya really well, and they are a believable pair of siblings. Her ability to go from goofing around to serious, sad tones is really impressive and crucial to the movie in a couple of spots.
I can’t move on from our characters without talking about Brandon Perea. Our man in the chair, Angel Torres, brings a ton of one-liners and giggles to the movie, with a good mix of terrified of aliens. While he doesn’t have the largest role, and really doesn’t exist in the first hour, he widens our cast and takes some of the dialogue load off of Kaluuya and Palmer. His character is also probably the most relatable, curious but also terrified.
The visuals throughout this movie are fantastic. Shots of the valley, of the sky, of our “alien”, they are alll beautiful. There’s a lot of cool scenes from a cinematography standpoint, and our alien looks awesome. I have to assume that is CGI, and it looks wonderful. This movie isn’t half as good if the audio and visuals weren’t on point. The way Nope hinges on suspenseful moment after suspenseful moment is only accomplished with great cinematography. The tension in the theatre could have been cut with a knife, and it was one of my highlights for sure. Like I said before, it does not have a ton of jump scares, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have you holding your breath.
Nope is a really good movie that I can’t wait to watch. Outside of a 20 ish minute wasted sub-plot, I thought the pacing was good and the story was well done. Our characters are well written, and the cinematography will glue your eyes to the screen for the last hour entirely.
For real, go watch the movie first.
Okay here we go, the sub-plot with the monkey was an absolute waste of time. If someone can figure out how it connects, drop it in the comments and I will delete this little rant almost immediately. It feels like something that may have been important, but the punchline got cut in post-production or something. The gore adds some more horrific elements to the movie sure, and maybe it adds to Ricky’s character, but his character also means nearly nothing. Those two seem to be very connected, but the large meaning behind it doesn’t ever make it into the movie. Massive waste of time and would have loved to see either more from that story or non entirely.