Nope

Nope

2022, R, 131 min. Directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, Brandon Perea.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., July 22, 2022

Every horror film needs a reason for the characters to stay in danger. In Nope, the third film by writer/director Jordan Peele, it's fear: not fear of whatever menace is lurking in the clouds above the Hayward Hollywood Horses ranch, but of falling away from the periphery of celebrity. OJ (Kaluuya) is trying to keep what's left of the movie-animal-wrangling business going after the bizarre death of his father, while his endlessly irritating and selfish sister, Emerald (Palmer), wants to be famous but she's not sure why or how. Next door, former kid star Ricky "Jupe" Park (Yeun) has gone from sitcom fame to running a rinky-dink Wild West theme park. All three end up obsessed with that shadow in the clouds with a taste for horse abduction, dragging Fry's store assistant Angel (Perea) and deranged cinematographer Antlers Holst (Wincott) into intriguing danger as they try to get their Oprah moment – the photo that will make them rich, proving interstellar life has visited Earth.

Peele's debut, the stellar horror-tinged racial satire Get Out, was a fascinating new director working with one of the year's best scripts. His follow-up, bloated class commentary Us, saw Peele effortlessly expand his vision and capability as a filmmaker, but the script felt unfinished, a draft or two away from making all the points he was trying to make. Nope doesn't rectify that divide: Instead, in some ways, Peele is an even more daring director, but the end result is even more undercut by script choices.

There's nothing accidental in Peele's work, and it is often spectacular. Much as he perfected a mood of clingy claustrophobia in Get Out, Nope is heavy with an ominous slowness, adding flitters of terror whenever there's a brief sighting of whatever it is staring down from the clouds. Yet there are also undoubtedly some decisions that may feel awkward: a heavy dependence on day-for-night cinematography, a stripped-down and low sound mix that brings M. Night Shyamalan's similarly themed Signs to ear and mind, and a long series of fake-out jump scares. Those seem like Peele's way of saying, "This won't be that kind of sci-fi horror," but after a while they can seem almost grating – especially since those scenes, again, owe a big debt to Shyamalan's 2002 homage to 1950s alien invasion flicks, and its perfect jump scare.

There's one more echo of Signs, this time deeper in the narrative. Shyamalan sets up a series of convenient coincidences that he can attribute to an unseen higher power. Peele builds the same kind of mechanic, but it's the audience, not the characters, that has to make that leap of faith.

Nope is spectacular and intriguing, but also frustratingly incomplete. Peele, like Shyamalan, knows how to take established cinematic tropes from the most wildly and unfairly despised B-movie genre flicks and turn them into something more palatable to broader audiences and fascinating to film buffs. But, much as with Us, Nope feels like it never quite draws its themes – of celebrity, of the credulous observer believing their camera keeps them safe, of our dangerous obsession with being seen – together into a truly coherent thesis. He also still loves his obscure Gen X references, and just as Us relied on knowing what Hands Across America was, there's a whole speech from Jupe that oddly depends on remembering Chris Kattan's Mr. Peepers act from Saturday Night Live.

But when Peele gets it right, it's still phenomenal. The reveal of what the menace is shows he's been keeping up with current Fortean studies, and his grasp of captivating imagery – in this case, the ranch covered with those inflatable wobbly guys you see in front of car dealerships – remains peerless. But having a new idea for a sci-fi creature feature isn't always enough. Just ask the directors of The Monolith Monsters, in which giant crystals menace SoCal. Well, at least some scumbag from TMZ gets what's coming to them.

Showtimes

Tue., Aug. 9

12:45

Wed., Aug. 10

12:45, 4:05, 7:30

Fri., Aug. 12

1:30, 4:50, 8:10, 10:40

Sat., Aug. 13

1:30, 4:50, 8:10, 10:40

Sun., Aug. 14

12:55, 4:55, 8:15, 10:15

Mon., Aug. 15

1:30, 4:50, 8:10

Tue., Aug. 9

12:35

Wed., Aug. 10

12:35, 3:55, 7:15

Fri., Aug. 12

3:40, 7:00, 10:15

Sat., Aug. 13

12:15, 3:40, 7:00, 10:15

Sun., Aug. 14

1:20, 4:40, 8:00

Mon., Aug. 15

12:50, 4:10, 7:30

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., Aug. 9

4:15, 7:00

Wed., Aug. 10

12:15, 3:30, 7:00

Fri., Aug. 12

3:20, 6:50, 10:05

Sat., Aug. 13

12:15, 3:35, 6:50, 10:10

Sun., Aug. 14

12:15, 3:15, 6:40

Mon., Aug. 15

12:20, 3:45, 7:05

Tue., Aug. 9

6:00, 7:00

Wed., Aug. 10

2:40, 6:00, 7:00, 9:25

Fri., Aug. 12

3:20, 6:45, 10:25

Sat., Aug. 13

11:55am, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Sun., Aug. 14

11:55am, 3:20, 6:40

Mon., Aug. 15

3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., Aug. 9

12:30

Wed., Aug. 10

12:30, 3:45, 7:00

Fri., Aug. 12

4:00, 7:30, 10:55

Sat., Aug. 13

12:35, 4:00, 7:00, 10:15

Sun., Aug. 14

12:00, 3:20, 7:00

Mon., Aug. 15

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Tue., Aug. 9

CC/DVS 1:45, 5:15, 8:30, 10:45

Wed., Aug. 10

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:45, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Aug. 12

1:00, 4:30, 7:45, 10:45

Sat., Aug. 13

1:00, 4:30, 7:45, 10:45

Sun., Aug. 14

1:00, 4:30, 7:45, 10:45

Mon., Aug. 15

1:15, 4:15, 7:30, 10:30

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:10

Wed., Aug. 10

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:10

Thu., Aug. 11

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:10, 7:10

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC/DVS 11:45am, 12:00, 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 7:00, 9:15, 10:15

Wed., Aug. 10

CC/DVS 12:00, 1:15, 3:00, 4:15, 6:00, 7:15, 9:00, 10:15

Wed., Aug. 10

9:00

Thu., Aug. 11

9:00

Fri., Aug. 12

9:00

Sat., Aug. 13

9:00

Sun., Aug. 14

9:00

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 9:35am, 10:45am, 12:30, 2:10, 3:50, 4:25, 5:20, 7:00, 8:35, 10:15, 11:00

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 9:35am, 10:45am, 12:30, 2:10, 3:50, 4:25, 5:20, 7:00, 8:35, 10:15, 11:00

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 12:10, 3:20, 6:50, 10:00

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 12:10, 3:20, 6:50, 10:00

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 11:10am, 12:45, 2:25, 4:05, 5:50, 7:20, 10:30

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 11:10am, 2:25, 5:50, 7:20, 10:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 12:35, 3:45, 7:05, 10:10

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 12:35, 3:45, 7:05, 10:10

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 11:20am, 2:30, 5:40, 8:50

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 11:20am, 2:30, 5:40, 8:50

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Tue., Aug. 9

digital 12:45, 4:00, 7:05, 10:15

Wed., Aug. 10

digital 12:45, 4:00, 7:05, 10:15

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., Aug. 9

2:30, 6:15

Wed., Aug. 10

2:30, 6:15

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/belterra

Tue., Aug. 9

11:15am, 2:30, 5:45, 9:00

Wed., Aug. 10

11:15am, 2:30, 5:45, 9:00

Fri., Aug. 12

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Sat., Aug. 13

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Sun., Aug. 14

2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Mon., Aug. 15

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Tue., Aug. 9

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Aug. 10

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Tue., Aug. 9

10:45am, 2:15, 6:10

Wed., Aug. 10

11:00am, 2:30, 6:10

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Tue., Aug. 9

11:30am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:30

Wed., Aug. 10

11:00am, 3:15, 8:30, 10:15

Thu., Aug. 11

11:30am, 2:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC 10:15am, 11:35am, 3:05, 4:20, 6:30, 10:00

Wed., Aug. 10

CC 11:35am, 1:00, 3:05, 6:30, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Aug. 12

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Sat., Aug. 13

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Sun., Aug. 14

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Mon., Aug. 15

CC 12:00, 3:25, 6:50, 10:05

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00
CC/DVS 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00

Wed., Aug. 10

CC 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00
CC/DVS 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00

Thu., Aug. 11

CC 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00
CC/DVS 12:10, 3:30, 6:50, 10:00

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Tue., Aug. 9

4:10

Wed., Aug. 10

4:10, 7:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., Aug. 10

7:15, 10:45

Fri., Aug. 12

3:45, 7:15, 10:45

Sat., Aug. 13

11:45am, 3:15, 7:15, 10:45

Sun., Aug. 14

11:45am, 3:15, 6:45, 10:45

Mon., Aug. 15

6:15, 9:45

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC 1:15, 4:45, 8:15
CC/DVS 1:15, 4:45, 8:15

Wed., Aug. 10

CC 1:15, 4:45, 8:15
CC/DVS 1:15, 4:45, 8:15

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC/DVS 11:55am, 3:10, 6:20, 9:30

Wed., Aug. 10

CC/DVS 11:55am, 3:10, 6:20, 9:30

Thu., Aug. 11

CC/DVS 11:55am, 3:10, 6:20, 9:30

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Tue., Aug. 9

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Wed., Aug. 10

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Thu., Aug. 11

1:30

Fri., Aug. 12

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Sat., Aug. 13

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Sun., Aug. 14

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Mon., Aug. 15

1:30, 5:00, 8:30, 9:30

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Tue., Aug. 9

2:30, 4:30, 8:30

Wed., Aug. 10

2:30, 4:30, 8:30

Thu., Aug. 11

2:30

Fri., Aug. 12

1:30, 5:00, 8:30

Sat., Aug. 13

1:00, 5:00, 8:30, 10:00

Sun., Aug. 14

12:30, 5:00, 8:30

Mon., Aug. 15

1:00, 5:00, 8:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10

Wed., Aug. 10

CC 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10

Thu., Aug. 11

CC 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10

Fri., Aug. 12

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:10, 10:10

Sat., Aug. 13

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:10, 10:10

Sun., Aug. 14

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:10, 10:10

Mon., Aug. 15

CC 1:00, 4:00, 7:10, 10:10

Tue., Aug. 9

1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15

Wed., Aug. 10

1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15

Thu., Aug. 11

1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Tue., Aug. 9

11:10am, 2:10, 4:20, 6:40, 9:45

Thu., Aug. 11

11:10am, 2:10, 4:20, 6:40, 9:45

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., Aug. 9

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

Wed., Aug. 10

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

Thu., Aug. 11

CC 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

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READ MORE
More Jordan Peele Films
Us
Jordan Peele has met the enemy, and they is Us

Richard Whittaker, March 22, 2019

Get Out
A stellar racially charged horror comedy

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Nope, Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, Brandon Perea

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