This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Austin Langdon’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
For me, the “don’t show the monster” rule in horror movie exists for a very good reason and I think Nope is an example as to why.
Two things took all the ambiguity and suspense out of the film for me. First, encounters with the extra-terrestrial almost always raise inherently interesting questions. What kind of civilization is this? How are they different from us and what does that entail about human evolution? What are their intentions? Etc. Once Peele establishes that the UFO is just an animal, with the mental state of an average lion, all those interesting questions disappear and it just becomes a well-shot monster movie. Which is fine, just a lot less interesting than what the film appeared to initially be. Perhaps watching it as just that could help me appreciate it more on second viewing.
The second problem imo, is when and how he shows the monster. After we see too much of it, all the ambiguity and suspense leaves the film for me. The only time I was curious about the alien was when we glimpsed it’s anatomy through clever well-shot moments where the alien eats people. There was finally something other-worldly there. Or when we saw some of its unique effects, like the dropping of coins, keys, and horses, and especially the raining of blood. Outside of this, all showing the monster achieved was the sapping of all the curious it’s and interest out of me. Now it was just a hot air balloon chasing a guy.
It’s Jordan Peele though. He’s obtained a pretty god-like status among modern horror fans now, and I really appreciate his work. These are just a few reasons why the film didn’t work for me though.