Jordan Peele has gained a lot of praise as a writer/director for various reasons: creating likable characters, tackling social commentary in an exciting way, and interestingly balancing comedy and horror. It’s worth pointing out that his films have been terrifying and deserve a lot of attention.
This is undoubtedly the case in “Nope,” Peele’s latest movie. In particular, its pivotal sequence involving the brutal attack by the chimp known only as one of the apes who played Gordy in a cheesy sitcom is one of the most compelling sequences ever filmed. Nonetheless, another scene is equally shocking for ironically opposing reasons: I was horrified by the massacre caused by OJ Haywood’s extraterrestrial entity dubbed “Jean Jacket” due to its alien quality.
One of the most memorable scenes in “Nope” depicts what happens to those consumed by the monster, and its inclusion might not have made it into the final product – it wasn’t even in the original script. The moment was made possible by Peele and his crew, allowing audiences to be terrified even further.
As much as possible, horror filmmakers keep their monsters, creatures, and so forth in the shadows. When the camera lingered too long, especially in classic “man in suit” monster movies, the trick could be revealed too easily. Thus this rule was created out of necessity as well as craft.
As a result of filmmakers acknowledging the power of the human mind over any effect or visual, it has also become an axiom. The monster shouldn’t be shown too many times because you’ll get used to him – and you don’t want to get used to him – ever. That’s been my thesis for decades.
Screening rooms are only as good as the space between your ears, which is your brain. Thus, it’s learning how to show so much by tapping into the human brain. Give your brain a lot of work to do. When you tap into people’s anxieties, you start to gain their trust.”
According to Peele, he follows that rule exactly in “Nope,” and it is likely the original sequence involving Jean Jacket’s attack on Jupe Park and his “Star Lasso Experience” follows that rule as well. While Jean Jacket flies around above OJ in Jupiter’s Claim amusement park and makes disturbing sounds, OJ discovers that the bleachers are empty of people. In a brilliant subversion of the rule, Peele went one step further.
Nothing in the script suggested that “Nope” would take us inside Jean Jacket as it slowly consumes the “Star Lasso Experience” attendees. As a result of Peele’s discussions with the film’s VFX crew, it was added during post-production.
Monsour told /Film that Jordan was a “late discovery after filming.”
With Peele consulting CalTech engineering professor John O. Dabiri to design the alien based on inspirations ranging from undersea life to ship sails, a lot of work went into creating the Jean Jacket creature’s look and physiology. There was a lot of research and development available to the director when he chose to show more of the creature’s interior.
In any case, the addition to the sequence is noteworthy for how much it adds to the narrative – rather than spoiling the moment or losing tension; it only raises more questions about how the creature behaves and what it does to humans.
The interior of Jean Jacket is a surreal moment in a movie that is mainly grounded, and Peele uses this surrealism to significant effect in “Nope.” With old coins falling from the sky and a mysterious upright shoe on the “Gordy’s Home” set, Peele creates an atmosphere of unexplained mystery that allows the brain to take over when it comes to terror.
Also, Peele maintains his penchant for creating surreal imagery in his films, adding an extra level of intensity to the moments. Two examples are the reveal of the sunken place in “Get Out” and the dance in “Us” that becomes a fight between the doubles.
A fantastic example of how such imagery can enhance the overall horror of a scene is “Nope’s” exploration of the interior of the alien. Although the characters have somewhat described the creature’s behavior and purpose, it remains ambiguous throughout the movie. As its predatory nature contrasts with the beauty in its design, it continues to change physically in strange, unexplainable ways. Our rational mind is overwhelmed by the irrational and unknown at a fundamental level. A bizarre threat like the alien is the perfect catalyst to elicit the instinctive, emotional response referenced in the movie’s title: “nope” is the only response to such a threat.
Source: SLASH FILM