Universal Pictures has released the first trailer for Jordan Peele’s Nope. Peele promises to bring a new kind of pop nightmare to the expansive horror genre for his third directorial effort. Though the trailer doesn’t reveal too much about the plot, we can only assume that the kite string attached to the dark cloud that hovers above the dusty California gulch means doom for all those underneath it.
Of course, that dark cloud is more than just something that threatens the lives of those who look at it with astonishment. But as to what it represents and what the exact word is for “a bad miracle,” we will just have to wait and see. Even the vague plot description left me on edge.
But Peele is one of the finest contemporary horror storytellers of our time, and there is no doubt that there’s some social commentary woven into the terrifying visual language of the film. Plus, Nope reunites the director with his Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya. The film also stars Keke Palmer, who plays the film’s lead — a horse trainer who runs the only Black-female owned ranch in a remote part of California. Though she has the pizazz and historical knowledge to draw a crowd, her assistant (played by Kaluuya) doesn’t share the same enthusiasm.
The opening of the trailer seems to be a joyous celebration of the Black community’s contribution to modern-day filmmaking. Then, as Palmer’s character dances to the sounds of Steve Wonder‘s “Fingertips,” the power goes out, and an ominous silence settles in. As the “From Jordan Peele” tag crawls from bottom to top instead of the traditional top to bottom, it seems to hint at the horrors that come from the sky.
Suddenly horses are wailing and running free as if they were trying to get away from something that terrified them. In another clip, we see Palmer and Kaluuya trying to see what’s around the corner while keeping a safe distance. Steven Yeun also appears standing beside a horse in a glass box. Again, since there were no character descriptions provided, we cannot know the extent of his role. Although, I think we could all agree that he looks great wearing a cowboy hat.
Other clips include a colorful collection of wacky wavy inflatable tube men flailing about suddenly deflate, a kiosk full of what looks like alien skull merchandise, and a mysterious person in a chrome motorcycle helmet holding a camera. Then we hear Kaluuya’s character ask if they have a word for a “bad miracle.”
Soon, things start to get even more creepy as Yeun’s character, an audience attending a rodeo show, and even a security camera begin to look at the sky. Of course, the chilling part of all of that is we don’t know what they are looking at. But the darker aspects of that visual language start to get teased. Characters are silhouetted. Someone reaches out to a hand that’s dripping blood. The absolute fright that one feels whenever the unknown lurks around the corner. And the ominous dark cloud with a kite string attached to it starts to show its violent nature.
Of course, audiences can expect to see social commentary woven into Nope. After all, that’s what a good horror film does. Peele has delivered some of the best stories of our time with his films that have plenty to say about humanity and the world that we live in right now.
Nope hits theaters on July 22, 2022.