I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a movie that starts with a quote from Nahum. I also honestly admit that Nope left me scratching my head, but very glad to have seen it. I trust Jordan Peele implicitly as both a screenwriter and a director, and I know I need to see Nope again to make it all fit (if that’s possible). His movies are the most Twilight Zoneish things out there, and despite Peele’s reported reason for naming the film Nope, I’m going to keep watching the skies. It’s clear he had done his ufological homework. Even the idea that—SPOILER ALERT—have you seen it yet? Are you going to? You might want to finish this later, if you haven’t—they are biological entities has been widely discussed.
Although classified as horror, Nope has mercifully few jump startles. In fact I noticed (there were maybe only 10 of us in the theater) that one couple had brought their kids. I can imagine they had some interesting discussions on the car ride home. For me, driving home alone, I felt like I’d watched Close Encounters, Twister, Signs, and Arrival simultaneously. Peele set out to film a spectacle and he did indeed. Horror has become more intelligent of late, and there’s so much going on here that I’ll need some time to sort it out. The online nattering suggests the Nahum quote (“I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile and make you a spectacle”) reflects Peele’s thoughts on the Bible. A more literal take might see the evacuation of waste creating a spectacle, which it does. How to explain the angel form of the creature?
Alien horror works. Alien sees them deep in apace, but many films, such as Fourth Kind, see them closer to home. Fourth Kind, also by an Africa American director (Olatunde Osunsanmi) never received critical acclaim, but I thought the first half was impossibly scary. It’s natural enough to fear those we don’t understand. Perhaps that’s one reason we tend to deny their existence. If we deal with them in fiction we can call it horror and go home happy. Nope asks us to consider whether our differences matter so much in the face of a non-discriminate predator that eats any human that enters its territory. Even if they were there first. I still have a lot of questions about the movie. Some of them will likely never be answered. One that will is “Do you plan on seeing it again?” The answer is yep.