Photo by benjamin henon on Unsplash

My first horror movie: nope (2022)

Weird shit in space, Black cowboys, and probably aliens are some keywords I’d use to relate Nope to any interested parties. Maybe it was just the nitro cold brew finally leaving my system just as the warped, possibly misunderstood alien in the sky engulfed it’s victims, but I definitely, momentarily, thought I’d be vacating the contents of my stomach onto the movie theater floor.

Like all the best roller coasters, Jordan Peele left it all out on the track, and by the time credits rolled, my pulse was still pounding from the last fifteen minutes of pure drop. Keke Palmer’s chest was still heaving, and so was mine.

I really like Jordan Peele, Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya. I love how weird and interesting they are as actors, producers and filmmakers. I think they’re funny, and have a way of telling multiple stories weaving within the plot, in the same way Hannah Gadsby starts a joke in the middle of her set and ends with the punch line. I like those stories, the ones that tell on themselves and leave you to retrace your cerebral steps. Stories that in two weeks, three days or five years, you’ll connect another dot from the story that stood out to you but you weren’t sure why, not yet.

Nope (2022) is the first horror movie I went to see by myself in theaters, and my first ever horror movie in theaters. Like spicy food growing up, I believed horror and thriller movies just weren’t for me, but like my grandma says about my high tolerance for onions, some things will fade with age. I guess horror is something I can almost stomach now, and that feels about as good as my first mango habanero wings that didn’t leave me with volcanic shits.

Now the story within a story, I like to think my friends have taught me well in how to watch horror films, always searching the background, noticing any details in focus or just off-center. Anything that feels off kilter is likely worth making note of in horror films, especially by Jordan Peele, because he has a fun way of leaving behind tectonic easter eggs meant to shatter your perception of the story you think you’re seeing versus what’s actually being told.

I think Nope (2022) isn’t as fucked up as it might be hyped to be, but I do think it’s honest. It’s honest about tragedy and exploitation and taking advantage of situations where we’re supposed to be more cautious. I like the idea that anyone could be affected by tragedy in Nope, because so many people really have, and running away or hiding from that fact gets you found out in the end. I think one of Peele’s greatest successes is transforming a simple story or concept and making it unforgettable, by keeping it simple and surprising.

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Liz Brinks

Hey, I’m Liz Brinks (they/them) I’m a queer gender-non-conforming writer, business coach & cat-parent (@itsjuustliz everywhere) based out of Wisconsin!