Director and filmmaker Jordan Peele is three for three with his latest directorial release of “NOPE.” “NOPE” follows characters OJ and Emerald Haywood as they discover a mysterious UFO presence in the clouds outside their childhood home.
“NOPE” is unique in the deliverance of daytime horror, which is not often replicated within the horror genre. This film has been compared to Jaws in that it follows teens with a deathly antagonist, making it the best summer sci-fi movie ever.
However, Peele wonderfully introduces us to the antagonist being a single organism in the sky making it almost impossible to avoid. While discovering that a UFO has mysteriously appeared in the back of their house, we are introduced to a subplot that is almost uneasy to watch.
The unease stems from a brutal and deadly attack on an on-screen chimpanzee by the name of Gordy. Gordy was the loveable and friendly pet of the hit show Gordy’s Home which followed the Houston family and their love of all things space.
While celebrating his birthday as a sketch on the show, a balloon popped signaling the start of the deadly massacre. This scene created an intense reaction of disturbance and made me wonder why the chimpanzee went ballistic.
It didn’t stop there when I saw a kid by the name of Ricky “Jupe” Park who was missed by the chimp and watched his entire on-screen family be killed. It was bone-chilling as Gordy looks directly at Ricky and then screen cuts away to black.
Peele is no stranger to using Bible verses inside of his films, one notably being used in his second film, Us. Peele using the verse solidified the idea for me that this will continue being his signature within the beginning of his films.
The Bible verse used in “NOPE” comes from the book of Nahum 3:6 which states, “And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a spectacle.”
The mention of spectacle sets the scene for the theme of the movie as humans tend to create spectacle through events that occur inside of our lives. It’s almost inevitable not to, but can also fuel this desire to be the first or known for something.
OJ Haywood, displays through his character how by not giving attention to a spectacle made it easier for him to discover how the UFO functions and governs itself amidst the way of humans.
While watching, I discovered that the UFO is actually a living organism that displays human characteristics, such as becoming irritable through contact and regurgitating its bodily fluids onto Haywood’s home in a disturbing red rain pour.
That scene gave one of the nastiest on-screen down pours of waste and the vivacity of the redness did not make me impervious to the idea that there were humans once alive now a red toxic waste.
An interesting thought that occurred to me while I watched the film was Jordan’s unique take on not creating the UFO to be inhabited by little green men with large black eyes as most extraterrestrial matter is displayed with that idea in mind.
Emerald Haywood is focused throughout the movie on getting what she calls the “Oprah shot” of the organism as it can be the motivation to get their family the notoriety that Emerald is seeking.
OJ pays no attention to obtaining this shot or involving himself, and within the movie I shared the same exact thought process because why fix what’s not broken, right?
However, a character shift arose in OJ after finding out that this organism played a role in killing their grandfather who suffered from the rain pour of a coin flying straight into his eye and killing him in an instant.
With that motivation, OJ and Emerald were ready to partake in one of the greatest and elusive on-screen sci-fi battles that film had ever seen.
During the battle, news outlets had received word that this UFO is inhabiting this space in the clouds and a TMZ employee surges through the road on his motorbike to obtain his own footage of the UFO.
At this point, I was super annoyed because as we know, TMZ is no stranger in obtaining any sort of news or traffic for the benefit of their corporation. And in true TMZ fashion the employee gets the footage but hilariously loses his life by being eaten by the UFO.
Through being eaten, a notable mention of the film was being taken through what is the throat of the monster in which I heard gruesome cries and screams, leaving me disturbed by the graphic depiction of what it means to be eaten by an alien.
The film was shot in IMAX by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema best known for his involvement in films such as Tenet, Interstellar, and Dunkirk.
It did not surprise me that Jordan recruited Hoytema to work alongside during this movie as each of the films Peele has created have cutting edge technology and film equipment catered to delivering some of the best shots known to film.
Peele masterfully explores the depths of horror and sci-fi and humans’ regard for spectacle and the need to tame animals that should not be. I have given Peele all of my flowers and am constantly on the edge of my seat to see what he will do next for film and the genre of horror.