No spoilers, but you won’t forget this in a hurry…
Ever since he won Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Get Out, all eyes have been on Jordan Peele to see how he would continue to bend and mould the horror genre to his whim.
The thing is though, at its core of aggressive hypnosis and literal brain-swapping, Get Out was as much a sci-fi film as it was a horror film. The same goes for his follow-up, Us, which had violent doppelgängers living in a subterranean world we never knew existed.
It was clear that Peele loved big ideas, even if those ideas were maybe too big for one film to handle, to the point where audiences will be left feeling equal parts thrilled and puzzled. That ratio continues with Nope, where Peele again tries to fit too much movie into movie.
Case in point: the best scene in the entire film, what will arguably be the best scene in any film in 2022, but it feels like it wandered in from a different film entirely.
Without getting too heavily into the plot, Nope tells the story of a brother (Daniel Kaluuya) and sister (Keke Palmer) who run a horse-ranch in the middle of nowhere, training and renting the horses to be used on big budget Hollywood productions.
Following a series of unexplainable events, they begin to suspect that their ranch is being watched over by an unidentified flying object, so they set about trying to capture it on camera by any means necessary.
There are some great scenes involving the duo attempting to get that money shot, many of them brimming over with fantastic tension and gorgeous cinematography; Peele wisely hired cinematographer Hoyte Von Hoytema (Interstellar, Ad Astra, Spectre) to capture the wide expanse of desert and sky, making the vast open space feel as frightening as possible.
However, in the middle of all of this, we’re greeted to an extended scene that has little-to-nothing to do with the actual plot of the movie. Again, we won’t give too much away, but it involves a neighbouring ranch owner (Steven Yeun) telling a story about how he was a big TV child star back in the day… and how that ended with an absolute living nightmare.
It is this short, maybe five-minute long short-film in the middle of this other film which is maybe to do with UFOs, and it sticks out like a sore thumb both due to its content and its sharp increase in quality.
There are, of course, some tangential connecting threads to the main plot of Nope, but they’re entirely subtextual.
You almost wish Peele had actually just told the full story behind that one scene in its entirety, such is its potential. It is shocking, horrifying and completely unforgettable.
Whereas the rest of the movie around that one scene is a little bit scary, a little spooky, and a little bit entertaining. But is it as good as Get Out or Us?
Nope… arrives in Irish cinemas on Friday, 12 August.
Clips via Universal Pictures Ireland