If he’d tried for a hundred years, Academy Award-winning director Jordan Peele could not have timed the box office release of his new sci-fi horror film, "Nope," more perfectly.
With senate hearings, NASA panels, and special committees being formed to investigate the proliferation of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) sightings, and public interest in UFOs spiking like gasoline prices around the world, a scary summer movie wrapped around the enigma of flying saucers and extraterrestrials seems appropriately ripe for the times.
Peele has often been cited as the modern Alfred Hitchcock, with his obsessive attention to cinematic details, complex storytelling that constantly subverts expectations, matched with timely personal comments on racism and xenophobia.
Now he's brought his entire creative tool box to the sci-fi genre in "Nope," a title which was believed by some to be an acronym for "Not Of Planet Earth," or just what audiences are going to shout out in disbelief when they witness the bizarre on-screen spectacle. A final suspense-filled trailer was just released by Universal Pictures that delivers much more about what's in store for horror audiences when it's finally released on July 22.
With cryptic early teasers of bodies flying into a stormy sky, vanishing horses, and a skeletal veiled figure sitting in arena bleachers, it’s been tough to figure out exactly what the premise and plot are for "Nope." Now Peele has tipped his hand a little more with this new peek at the film’s many mysteries, including a glimpse of a gleaming silver saucer. Have a look, but don’t insist on fully comprehending what's going on as that's all part of Peele's tantalizing puzzle box fun!
"Nope" stars Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya as siblings James and Jill Haywood, a California family operating a remote horse training facility for Hollywood. Strange occurrences are happening on their ranch to both humans and animals and all signals point to some diabolical shenanigans perpetrated by aliens or UFOs.
When they take matters into their own hands and decide they're going to become famous by capturing actual footage of the extraterrestrials and their craft, the real skin-stealing horrors begin to materialize.
Also joining the cast are "The Walking Dead’s" Steven Yeun as rodeo ringleader Ricky "Jupe" Park, and Brandon Perea as tech salesman Angel Torres and the great Michael Wincott of "The Crow" and "The Doors" fame playing grizzled documentarian Angel Torres, who are both helping the Haywoods make a fortune by providing solid proof of the existence of UFOS, or perhaps reveal it all as an elaborate hoax or nightmarish visions. Remember that trailers can be very deceiving!
So does the master magician Jordan Peele still have something else up his sleeve when "Nope" unspools in theaters, tricking us with clever misdirection, or should we be watching the skies until July?
"Nope" lands in theaters on July 22.
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Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.