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This movie is out of this world crazy.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Jordan Peele’s Nope)

With Jordan Peele’s newest film Nope now on demand, I treated myself to a weekend at home rewatch of the film. I had originally seen the film back in July when it aired in theaters but had been itching to rewatch it again, now with a better understanding of the message and motive behind the film. I am a big fan of horror films, and Nope seems to have made it’s way to the top of my list of all time favorites due to its themes and atmosphere.

Over the past few years Peele has been making a name for himself in the film industry with previous works such as Get Out and Us, he is known to be a horror mastermind with a knack for including underlying social commentary in his films and Nope is no exception.

The film follows two siblings, OJ and Emerald Haywood (Portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) trying to uncover the strange and otherworldly happenings on their land ever since their father passed away mysteriously six months ago. The film tackles ideas of fame, family, and how the world loves to promote tragedies into spectacles along with creating interesting and developed characters, world-building techniques, and thought-provoking ideas and metaphors.

Right off the bat with the credits at the beginning of the film, we seem to be shown a sequence of squares and tunnels that one might at first think pertains to the inside of a film camera. As you learn later in the movie after the famous Jupiter’s Landing scene, these credits are actually a callback to the stomach and digestive system of the alien that terrorizes the Haywoods. The alien, officially known as “The Watcher” is a metaphor for the film industry and everyone that entails from directors, PAs, and the audiences. The idea is that we collectively as a society are mere sustenance for the world of film and fame, that it will gobble us up whole and spit what’s left out before continuing on, hungry as ever.

The first real shot of the film right before the movie actually starts, is the iconic image of the first ever moving-picture taken, with the focus being an African-American jockey riding a horse. In the film Emerald explains that is actually her great-great-great grandfather whose name was lost to history. One thing I find really interesting is how Peele portrays the idea the indeginous people are often not given credit or get their chance in the spotlight, which is shown throughout the film as OJ struggles to keep the family business afloat. The main plot of the film is that the Haywood siblings are on a race to be the first to capture evidence of the alien on their land as they know that as soon as others find out, they will be erased from the picture. The original shot of the Haywood jockey on the horse comes back at the very end of the film, right after Emerald was able to capture a photo of the alien. Just as a hoard of newscasters and journalists appear, OJ does so as well, coming out of the settling dust on a horse, in the same stance as his great-great-great grandfather all of those years ago. In that final shot of the movie, he has forever tied the first real capture of extraterrestrial life to himself, solidifying his family name in history.

You cannot talk about this film without bringing up the infamous Gordy’s home scene, the scene that opens the movie to a brutal and bloody rampage of a chimpanzee gone rogue on a sitcom soundstage. The atmosphere is tense and it is tough to watch as offscreen Gordy repeatedly beats one of the actors with his fists to a bloody pulp. But the main focus of the scene isn’t the bodies scattered around, or the blood-covered animalistic chimp, but instead a sole shoe balancing upwards by itself . What we eventually learn later in the film is that this is all a memory of the character Rickey “Jupe” Park (played by Steven Yeun), a former child actor who starred on the show “Gordy’s Home” and witnessed the attack. This sequence may seem out of place as it is only brought up twice throughout the whole film, but it serves as an important backstory to Jupe’s character. When prompted by Emerald to ask what happened during the attack, Jupe doesn’t bring up how scared he was or the deaths and injuries caused, he instead talks about the SNL skit made about the attack. Jupe is so far removed from what actually happened, instead turning the attack that left one of his child costars severely maimed into his own personal attraction. It is the perfect example of how so often we as a society turn our backs on victims or horrendous occurrences only to make them a spectacle for our own amusement.

Some have called Nope a flop, saying that Peele no longer understands horror and that the movie was not thrilling or scary, but I disagree. I believe that Peele is a master of horror and understands more than anything, that true horror doesn’t come from aliens in the sky or monsters hiding around corners. True horror comes from us ourselves.

Hey, I'm Bea and I am a communications major at College of Charleston. You can usually find me listening to show tunes, with my head in a book, or watching and analyzing obscure horror movies.
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