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Just a movie fanatic who likes to talk about... movies! It first began with heated conversations with friends. Then jotting down some thoughts on my notes app. Then finally gaining the courage to post a review on Facebook. And now this! I do not claim to be the end be all of movie opinions, and expect much of my personal thoughts to contradict those of others. I hope to keep these reviews casual and just a fun read for any all who have also enjoyed the movies discussed. A lot of them with contain spoilers, and best read if you've already seen the movie. Thank you for checking this out, and please, leave a comment so we can start discussing!

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  • Writer's picturePauline

NOPE

Now this was one I was greatly anticipating considering Jordan Peele has become the modern master of horror movies. Being a chaser of horror movie thrills myself, I'm also very picky (yes, I'll admit it), when it comes to horror movies. I either like them to be exceptionally good with a real story and depth to support it that goes beyond the jump-scare, or absolute ridiculous tom-foolery that can be enjoyed by making fun of it with friends and possibly lots of wine. Unfortunately I find that most horror movies nowadays fall in this weird middle; it's not bad enough to have fun with it, and it's not good enough to actually find all that interesting. But Peele has truly risen from the lot and proven himself to know how to deliver on true scare, as well as building characters with actual depth to them, and often conveying a wider message that makes you leave the theater spooked but also... contemplative.

"Nope" left me contemplative alright. And while I could talk about and analyze the endless layers of this movie, I'll have to force myself to focus on a couple. The beginning of the movie set a tone that suggested this was going to be one of his goofier movies. Keke Palmer's energy from the start is so much fun and wants to put you at ease, but Daniel Kaluuya's more morose character reminds you that there is something darker to come. Although it's his almost-neutral way of being that will result in some of the movie's funnier beats, and that pops the tension the more terrifying moments. Such as when he's in the truck and all the shit is raining down, and he opens the door, and just says "nope". And resorts to just sitting there completely calm and unbothered. I mean, after all, what is he to do? Peele subverts multiple times the cliché of "screaming and freaking out," by having Kaluuya just... accept his limitations and wait for the storm to pass. I also loved Brandon Perea's character (Angel), who served as a perfect comedic relief, and allowed for moments of genuine laughing.


My most favorite component of the movie is the visual design of this "monster UFO". Horror movies will often rely on the element of the "unknown" to create anxiety and fear. Or just quick, one-second flashes of the demon haunting the house, the witch chasing you in the forest, or the serial killer escaping a corner. But when you take that away, and reveal the monster in its full form, you now have a greater task to create that similar fear and anxiety without relying on this gimmick. (Quickly want to shout out "A Quiet Place Part II" for wonderfully accomplishing this as well). And not only is Peele's monster terrifying, but it is absolutely gorgeous. A true definition of something that is hauntingly beautiful. After so much anxious build up, we expect either a weird spaceship or a grotesque object in the sky, and what we get is a visual spectacle, which totally throws you off guard. (This also reminded me of the alien design in "Arrival," in its grace and form). Nothing more terrifying than having your expectations shot. Something beautiful committing atrocities creates dissonance, which is an uncomfortable mental place to be in. And so Peele does not just scare; he completely unnerves your entire system.


Lastly, just everything having to do with the Gordy incident was fucking great. I am tempted to assert that those moments were the most horrifying of the whole movie, at times even more compelling. Every time it was brought up I wanted more of THAT story. Where's the movie about that?? Steven Yeun's character and survival of the incident stands as a perfect contrast to Kaluuya. Yeun thinks he's got a special connection with tamed animals, as Gordy left him alive and even offered a fist bump of camaraderie. The way he runs his tourist ranch reveals his treatment of animals as things that work for him. And so he tries to do the same with the UFO. Whereas Kaluuya respects animals and tries to work with them. I'm still scratching my head about the shoe that seems to magically stand in suspension during the Gordy incident. Is this what saved Yeun? A sort of distraction from what was going on? Divine intervention? A miracle? But what does this miracle mean? Still lots to think about!!


This definitely stands as my favorite Jordan Peele movie, who has truly cemented himself as a master of the craft of storytelling. I already can't wait to watch it again to catch everything I probable missed.


If you've made it this far... thanks for reading!


(also follow me on letterboxd! @PaulineP)




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1 Comment


Alex Vidal
Alex Vidal
Aug 31, 2022

Again, a wonderfully written review! I'm not usually a fan of horror, but after seeing this while scrolling I was definitely curious. Your input made me want to pour a nice glass of wine, turn the lights ON and see this movie!

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