It’s not really that surprising, but those strange, ominous, low-hanging clouds, whipping winds, and levitation powers are, after all, the result of UFOs. Jordan Peele’s upcoming summer hit Nope stars Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Keke Palmer as the Haywood siblings. They run their family’s remote ranch and rodeo horses after the mysterious death of their father (Keith Haywood). When paranormal phenomenon via the sky starts to spook the horses, gorily transform some locals, and otherwise wreak fatal havoc on the small town’s population, it looks like the siblings’ grief and transition period will be interrupted. Until now, this was all the information we had about the film.
A new, final trailer was released on June 9th, clearing up any mystery surrounding the movie’s plot and its primary antagonists. However, as per Peele’s usual, it left the door wide open for thematic interpretation and resolution. Having previously tackled, with renowned insight, groundbreaking perspective, and signature dark humor, complex topics like racial and economic equality and shady government doings in America, Peele will next deliver to his awaiting fans his socially and culturally informed opinion on aliens. With all this new footage and the motivation driving the story now understood, we are more excited than ever to witness Jordan Peele’s social satire on UFOs.
Nope: Terror in the Skies
On a typical day on the ranch in this small, rural rodeo town, the final trailer for Nope opens with voice-overs of Steven Yeun’s Brian, the local rodeo leader, promising his modest crowd the spectacle of a lifetime in the show about to begin. The Haywood siblings’ father is back at the ranch. Meanwhile, just after Kaluuya’s James Haywood loses his cell service, he inexplicably falls dead from one of the horses and is pronounced deceased in the hospital. It’s clear from the trailer that James is convinced that his father’s death is the result of some strange foul play, as he describes the “big,” menacing objects he has been sighting in the sky to his sister and suggests there is some connection.
There are clear parallels between Brian’s monologue and the strange, seemingly disconnected events unfolding at the ranch. After a spooky nighttime encounter between the siblings and the dark UFO, the pair decides to set up the best surveillance cameras available to get the world’s first indisputable footage of the UFOs. The characters’ primary goal is revealed.
The Haywoods turn to characters Craig (played by Michael Wincott) and Kevin (Brandon Perea), two eccentric surveillance technicians who help them install the camera equipment and become inextricably tied to the paranormal events at the ranch. Michael Wincott’s Craig, in particular, seems to have a specific connection to UFOs, as Palmer’s Jill Haywood pleads with him to lend them his unique skills, so they can become the first ones to get this thing on camera and make a boat-load of money.
The new team has their work cut out for them, convincing themselves that aliens are actually stalking them and facing off against the enormous, unpredictable force flying above them. Their house is coated in blood-like goo, and local residents turn into zombie-like creatures or are killed or snatched. Jill and others are blown into the sky as the UFO tries to abduct them, and the team discovers that if they do not look at the UFOs, they will leave them alone.
This last discovery will have a significant impact on the team’s plans, as presumably, if they can not acquire footage or look at the footage they get, much as they can not look at the ship itself, that wrecks their plans. The drama and menace of the film are dotted with characteristic Peele humor, such as fun quips and the overall concept that this murderous thing in the sky can indeed double for this one family as the ultimate ticket to fame, glory, and the best show in town.
What Will Jordan Peele’s Nope Mean Thematically?
It’s probably not likely that Jordan Peele is expressing some specific stance on the existence of UFOs, but rather on the social and cultural impact of strange and unexplainable phenomena, or even belief in such happenings, on individuals. The film will probably do a lot to explore how individuals processing trauma or facing hard times respond to sudden, dangerous opportunities and how the effects of isolation impact senses and decisions.
We can certainly expect great performances from Nope’s talented cast, particularly from the reliably impactful Daniel Kaluuya, the hilarious and heartfelt Keke Palmer, and the newly added Michael Wincott, who is always a fan favorite. There is much to get excited about for this film, for sci-fi and Jordan Peele fans. A UFO film centered so closely around the thoroughly human journey of its witnesses simply has not been made. For Peele to step up to the plate with his deep regard for the most confounding social dilemmas will most likely make this new UFO film all the more seminal.
We can not wait to see Nope when the film is released in theaters on July 22nd!