This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
JORDAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I am surprised how much I disliked this and I'm still trying to process what didn't work for me. It's that kind of movie, where something just feels off and I can't get into it.
For one, it felt 4 hours long. I can't believe how badly paced and slow this was. The nearly sold out audience in the theater seemed to be asleep the whole time. When things finally start happening what feels like 90 minutes in, I was just thinking this should have started at like the 30 minute mark. When the end title came on, no applause, no enthusiasm, just people getting up and quietly leaving. Completely dead room.
I really disliked the characters, which shocked me because while I have problems with Get Out and Us, I thought Peele was great at creating fun, funny, charming protagonists. On one extreme you have a character who barely talks or has a personality, and on the other extreme an incredibly annoying, frustrating character. All of the side characters didn't do anything for me either. There's barely any humor but it all fell flat. Peele may literally be a comedic genius! What happened?
I was just...so incredibly bored during almost all of this. Again, I didn't love his previous films but they certainly were not boring. I'm a UFO nut, a horror movie fan, I enjoy (and recently got into) Lovecraftian stories, and I like Peele's work, how can this do absolutely nothing for me?
There's interesting ideas and visuals here. The cloud stuff? I literally have a song I wrote about UFOs with lyrics like "the clouds are taking turns being bright." This is totally my thing.
The setting of the Hollywood horse ranch and all that history and connections is fascinating. Yet so much in this film feels unexplored or undercooked or perhaps just executed in such a way that it never pulled me in. A lot of dialogue left me genuinely confused, with several moments of me going "huh? what are they talking about? Why are they doing this?" Is it just me? The storytelling here just feels really off. And what a total waste of Keith David. Jesus christ have him in your whole film!
The monkey tangent, I see what it's going for thematically, but I think nearly all of it should have been cut out. Cut out or make it the main character's back story. Putting all of that on an unimportant side character just doesn't make sense to me. And what was going on with the show that character was going to put on? It was about horses? UFOs? Why was it even about UFOs in an Old West themed park? This movie has a real lack of clarity, like everything is so vague. This UFO has been here for 6 months but is only a danger and no one saw it now, why?
The film reminded me a lot of Tremors (and of course the inspiration for Tremors, Jaws), but all I could think of is how perfectly paced those two films are, how likable the characters are, and how great the storytelling is. I think Peele has interesting ideas...but is he a good director/storyteller? I'm honestly not sure at this point.
Additional note: The frame of the movie was in a smaller frame on the very large screen. This just drove me crazy the entire time. Why?? I'm paying $18 to go to a big screen and it's all shrunken on it? Others have said this happened in other theaters so this is a problem with the film.