Is Nope a bad movie, or did you just not get it?


Photo by Photo by Universal Studios

Nope movie poster features Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun

By Karidja Monjolo, Editor



Two years ago, the opinion of Academy Award-winning director Jordan Peele was mostly positive: after the success of “Us”, “Get Out“, andCandyman”, the world was looking up for the 43-year-old director. But, after the split criticism on the 2022 film “Nope”, it is time to reevaluate. 

Most people traveling to their local theater, expecting to be frightened by the director’s natural ability to enlist fear, likely did not leave with that feeling, it is safe to say. They might feel more of a connection to the characters, or perhaps even experience sadness, which differs from the reactions to other “horror” films. 

Universal Pictures

The movie follows two siblings, Emerald (Em)  played by Emmy Award-winning actress Keke Palmer, and Otis Junior (OJ) played by Daniel Kaluuya. The Haywood siblings deal with the traumatic loss of their father, all while trying to run a Californian horse ranch. OJ tries to solve the mystery of his father’s death, and soon discovers something far more disturbing: an alien entity he later nicknames Jean Jacket (JJ).

Similar to other Peele films, “Nope” prioritizes its themes and metaphors rather than the horror aspects. Like your average Peele movie, we have to dig a bit deeper to understand the plot, which divides viewers and critics on the film.

Throughout the movie,  the audience is frequently shown clips of Gordy, a crazed chipmunk (edit: chimpanzee) who attacked and killed most of a TV cast and crew in 1988. Gordy was actually the most frightening part of the film, rather than Jean Jacket, the major antagonist behind the whole plot of the movie. Specifically, there is a scene in which Gordy, after murdering the cast, comes face-to-face with a young Kolton Park (played by Lincoln Lambert), enlisting fear and worry within viewers: if the chipmunk (edit: chimpanzee) is capable of killing the entire cast, then what could he do to a child?

Gordy, A crazed chipmunk seconds after killing a TV cast and crew (Photo by (Universal Studios) )

The plot was slightly confusing, though why is unclear. The elements should have worked together, but at times, did not. Some scenes felt slightly unrelated to the rest of the film.

Something that remains true with all Peele’s films is his ability to make likable characters. Many viewers will find themselves quickly attached to Emerald, and her comedic dialogue. With the natural charm of Keke Palmer, it is impossible not to grow fond of the humorous character who has the tendency to enlist laughter even in awkward moments.

One critic said “Nope” lacked a story, but that is completely wrong. The plot developed over the course of the two-hour movie, but it was, in fairness, confusing. While the characters are trying to figure out more about the alien, so are the viewers.  

Ultimately, “Nope” makes people think, and that makes this movie worth watching. Those looking for a straight horror film: most of Peele’s movies are not for you. His work makes audiences question themselves, what the characters represent, and the overall theme of the film.