Nope ★★★½

Well, this is a Jordan Peele film, alright. And much like his other two I liked it, I think? To me his films are on the one hand a little frustrating and on the other highly fascinating. I attended a packed pre-pre-premiere, now that the film is finally coming over the pond. I'll first get the technical aspect's over with: van Hoytema's cinematography is beautiful and the sound design is eerie and obscure.

The film really had me in its first third. A mysterious and cruel opening, as well as a playful brother-sister dynamic and I was hooked. Then the creepy setpieces come in. It was one of the early fakeouts, but the one in the stable was wonderful. I was surprised how comedic the tone was. That was embraced by my audience which was a lot of fun. Right when the second act sets in, I was on board to get further entertained and spooked.

I was fine with the presented goal of catching the phenomena on film. Yet, in its second act Steven Yeun's backstory gets a lot of screentime. In and of itself that monkey bit was entertaining. It even occupied my mind quite a while this morning. Thematically it fits with the treatment of animals, pacing-wise it causes quite some trouble. About halfway through my film brain raised its hand and until the end I thought about how you could edit the film down to 90 minutes.

Again, the horror setpieces remain great and there are some fantastic designs in the third act - still, a few revisions of script and structure would have been welcome.

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