‘Nope’ brings extraterrestrial horror to Jordan Peele filmography

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

Nope” (2022) is a science fiction horror film directed by Jordan Peele scheduled to release on July 22. The film is set to star Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yuen. Kaluuya, who previously starred in Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out” (2017), returns in a new role with Palmer as siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood. 

The cast also features Brandon Perea as tech salesman Angel Torres and Michael Wincott as documentarian Antlers Holst. Together, they join the Haywoods in attempting to document the strange occurrences happening on their ranch in rural California, as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life. 

“Nope” will be Peele’s third film in which he is both screenwriter and director, after receiving critical acclaim for “Get Out” and “Us” (2019), and his unique approaches to the horror genre through underlying social critique. 

The way Peele satirizes horror, using well-known formulas to reflect current social issues and symbolism for the bigger picture, brings awareness to the horrors of the real world lurking just below the surface. If “Nope” promises to share any of the same themes and techniques of its predecessors, it will surely bring the same not-so-subtle social commentary to the film’s overall premise. 

Based on trailers released for the film alone, the plot for “Nope” may be difficult to decipher, which works to its advantage in building suspense and anticipation for its debut. The official trailer released in February featured a disturbing series of fast-paced, yet seemingly unrelated images that hint at what the film will be about. 

Even the film’s bizarre title can be interpreted humorously and creates more questions than answers since it doesn’t seem to match the chilling tension shown in the trailers. All of these aspects contribute to growing interest in the final product, preparing audiences for what Peele has in store for this film. 

Examining the potential of the conflict between the main characters and the suspected E.T. presence hovering over the ranch, “Nope” seems to take a different approach than the two previous films Peele has directed. While “Get Out” and “Us” featured conflicts that used the protagonists as means to an end, “Nope” appears to focus on the stakes the Haywood siblings face as well as the rest of the town in the threat of something they don’t understand. Their attempts at deliberately provoking the unknown by trying to capture its existence on film seem like their own efforts are responsible for the main conflict in the plot. 

Peele, who also briefly hosted “The Twilight Zone” (2019) reboot, has made his love for science fiction and horror well known to his fans. He understands the spectacle surrounding films with similar themes and their impact on pop culture, incorporating this into his works to fit his narrative. 

“Nope” appears to take inspiration from classic films in these genres, with references given by name from Peele to “The Shining” (1980) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977). With “Nope,” Peele continues to show his appreciation for what these films established in their genres by combining supernatural elements with horror and their effect on the story. 

 

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