Get Out and Us director Jordan Peele returns with his eagerly anticipated new movie Nope. Peele reunites with the former film's star Daniel Kaluuya for another unpredictable, darkly comic blend of satirical insight and big scares.
Kaluuya stars as a Hollywood horse trainer who, along with his sister (Keke Palmer), is drawn into mysterious, apparently extraterrestrial, phenomena. Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott are among the additional names in the excellent cast.
Ever since Jordan Peele stormed the Academy Awards with the sensational Get Out, becoming the first African-American filmmaker to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, he's cemented his uniquely creepy brand of horror-comedy.
Nope promises to be more expansive than Peele's previous hits, captured on IMAX cameras by the celebrated cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and Dunkirk).
So, what is the verdict on Nope? We've curated some of the (spoiler-free) reviews, so scroll down to get a flavour.
Is it scary?
Writes Kristy Puchko for Mashable: "Yes... Nope boasts superbly suspenseful sequences punctuated by scares that had audience members (this critic included) screaming unabashedly. (One standout terrifying sequence involves a shadowy barn and a man who thinks it's just him and the horses in there.) But beyond iconic scares, these horror hits of yesteryear also share an earnest interest in the character, and a slow-burn terror born from embedding us in the lives of a family."
What are the performances like?
"Palmer and Kaluuya could not be better," enthuses Rolling Stone journalist K. Austin Collins. "Palmer is down in every way, as stylish and unflappable as Samuel L. Jackson or Jada Pinkett Smith, with a taste for stoner mayhem and, when the movie calls for it, action-movie know-how. She’s who you’d want to be in a movie like this.
"Kaluuya, meanwhile, offers us something else. His OJ is a man of few words who seems sterner than he is, though not out of shyness. It takes a while to realize the archetype he’s drawing from here, one that belongs to another genre — the genre that the character Antlers Holst, played by Michael Wincott, with his Eastwood growl, ought to remind you of."
How has Jordan Peele stepped up his visual ambition?
"Don’t look up: Jordan Peele’s third feature makes the sky overhead a place of endless terror," writes Tim Grierson for Screen International. "Nope finds the Oscar-winning writer-director boldly expanding his canvas, aspiring to Spielberg-ian levels of popcorn spectacle without sacrificing the emotional and thematic heft of his previous work.
"A tale of a grieving brother and sister joining forces to obtain proof of what they believe is a UFO, this sci-fi/horror film is thrillingly ambitious and occasionally terrifying; its only flaw being that its final showdown doesn’t quite live up to the picture’s dazzling earlier sequences."
Is it as meaningful as Get Out and Us?
"Nope looks at the multiple meanings of 'spectacle'," muses Empire's Kambole Campbell in his five-star rave review. "It unpacks cinema’s romanticisation of the American frontier, itself a site of historical trauma. The dominance of white producers, feeding their movie and television machine with the misery of minorities, is played just as terrifyingly as the later, more uncanny horrors; with this, Peele turns whiteness into another monster.
"But he isn’t too preoccupied with what Nope signifies. It’s satisfyingly resistant to the temptation of recent horror movies that overexplain their meaning, limiting themselves to a single interpretation."
Are there any dissenting voices?
"For Nope, Peele has gathered a host of themes, motifs, and cultural references to play around with, from the overlooked legacy of Black cowboys to a brutal, nationally buzzed-about news story concerning a woman who was mauled by her friend’s chimpanzee," writes Richard Lawson for Vanity Fair.
"It’s a fascinating olio, but Peele has trouble binding it all into a persuasive whole. As Nope swerves and reels, it often seems distracted by itself, unable to hold its focus on any one thing long enough for deeper meaning, or feeling, to coalesce."
Has this got you excited for Jordan Peele's new movie? You can cast your own verdict when Nope materialises in Cineworld on August 12th.