On Nope and horror movies

Films, Horror
Hollywood Boulevard, where we watched Nope

I went to watch Nope at the end of August this year. I’ve never watched a film by Jordan Peele before but I’d heard great things about them. This was also the second movie I watched in the cinema since the pandemic started (I watched Dune in October 2021 and it was a glorious experience, mostly because I hadn’t been in the cinema for so long, also, the cinematography and the music of that movie are a true work of art… the story… well, let’s discuss that another day).

I didn’t know what Nope was about – only that it was horror. Mostly I went to see it because I was visiting LA for the first time and Sister and Mum wanted to check out the Chinese theatre on Hollywood Boulevard (by the way, Hollywood is actually quite a rough area, even though still very touristy, which kind of shocked me).

We came out of the cinema and whereas Sister and I quite enjoyed the film, Mum hated it. I have the feeling (confirmed by the reviews I read) this is to be expected. It’s a you either love it or hate it kind of deal.

One of the things I liked the most was what the film decided not to show. Let’s say there were plenty of chances to relish in gore and the body horror, yet the director chose not to dwell on the details and decided to leave us with only the sounds instead – which makes it all the tenser. Even as a horror fan I get bored (and disgusted, who am I trying to trick here) when I see waterfalls of guts and blood but no story substance. Don’t get me wrong, there are writers who write body horror beautifully (as incongruent as that may sound) such as Mariana Enríquez and Clive Barker. But most of the time your imagination surpasses whatever terrors someone writes on the page (or shows on the screen).

Another thing I enjoyed about Nope is that it has a male and a female protagonist and… wait, they are not in love?? We need more stories like this, exploring different kinds of bonds. Nope is also about how irritating and delightful having a sibling can be, and I thought bringing that braiding that in with the other horror themes was one of the strengths of this story.

Also, if you love animals – and I didn’t get what loving animals truly meant until I got my two cats – rest assured. This is a film you can watch. I’m saying this because since I have pets any kind of animal cruelty has gone from revolting to unbearable. Now I do understand my friend T. who is always checking the Does the Dog Die website whenever we are watching something with a dog in it. Sure, bad things happen to animals in Nope, but you won’t have to witness them. Also, the story is, partly, a critique of the exploitation of animals in films and TV which, again, I found refreshing. It’s also an interesting reflection on this real-life story I can’t stop thinking about.

If you go to see this film, go without knowing anything about it. I can only hope you haven’t been spoiled its main twist – which I’m told was apparently all over Reddit. It was one of the best things about it, the oh, wait a moment… A fine and unexpected example of the best Lovecraftian horror I’ve seen in a while.

Ah, and you won’t see clouds the same way after this film.

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