Nope Trailer Breakdown: The Best Look Yet At Jordan Peele's UFO Movie

You know the drill by now. The marketing for the latest Jordan Peele film drums up excitement among horror fans and general audiences alike, we all spend the intervening months until release coming up with theories and rampant speculation about what the visionary filmmaker might have in store, and then the movie comes out and somehow lives up to (if not exceeds) all the hype to deliver a fresh, original, and sorely-needed box office hit. Ho hum, no big deal.

"Nope" only marks the third Peele movie to this point, but already the horror director has managed to build a brand all of his own. It's particularly impressive that "Get Out" and "Nope" have both broken through into the mainstream at a time when star power alone seems to have fallen behind the allure of recognizable franchise IP at the box office. Now, based on how every new piece of footage we've seen from "Nope" lights the internet on fire as everyone attempts to figure out what's really going on underneath the surface, it sure seems as if Peele will have back-to-back-to-back hits on his hands once his latest film finally releases.

With today's release of the 3-minute final trailer, we got our best and most revealing look yet at the upcoming movie ... and, honestly, it's still difficult to tell exactly what the movie will be about. We now know that the scope and scale will be considerably larger than we may have first thought, based on the early trailers that appeared to tease a largely one-location thriller along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs." That comparison only felt even more relevant once everyone stopped playing coy about the presence of UFOs in the story, but what other information can we glean from the latest trailer? I'm glad you asked.

Strange happenings

"What if I told you that today you'll leave here different?"

The trailer kicks off with an unseen Steven Yeun's narration, presumably speaking to a larger crowd in a completely different scene but whose words feel eerily suggestive of the footage we're about to see. We begin with Daniel Kaluuya's Otis "OJ" Haywood Jr. working outside on his homestead, noticing a few odd occurrences. First, his phone (a flip phone!) mysteriously craps out on him. Then, as a large and dark cloud passes by overhead, small objects seem to fall out of the sky and hit the dusty ground at high speed (you can see the impact of one kicking up a rooster tail of dirt in the screenshot above, just to the left of Kaluuya). One such object seems to fatally hit his father (played by Keith David), knocking him off his horse and immediately raising the personal stakes.

'Something above the clouds'

Contrary to popular opinion, tropes aren't inherently bad! It's how filmmakers use them that makes all the difference. That's partly why I love Peele's work so far, which has consistently borrowed some of the most well-established horror setups (Home invasions! Doppelgängers! Potential alien invasions!) and done something profoundly new and unique with them every single time. With "Nope," Peele isn't exactly reinventing the wheel by featuring an isolated family coming under attack by some otherworldly menace from "something above the clouds," as OJ hauntedly remarks ... but it's the details that help set the director's take on these tropes apart. Two Black siblings (we also get a quick check-in with Keke Palmer's Emerald Haywood, the sister of Kaluuya's character) who have just lost their father in gruesome fashion but seem to be actively confronting the problem rather than running away? Yeah, that sort of agency definitely feels new and exciting.

'Absolute spectacle'

Cowboy Steven Yeun stans, rise up! Right after the Haywood siblings commiserate over what must have killed their "Pops," we get our first look (in this particular trailer, at least) at Yeun's character named Ricky "Jupe" Park, who is talking to a small but dedicated group of onlookers at his desert rodeo of sorts. And yet, his ongoing dialogue might as well be directed pointedly at ourselves. "Right here, you are going to witness absolute spectacle," obviously referring to the surprise under wraps behind him (which we know to be a horse in a big glass box, based on what we've seen before), but easily applicable on a meta-textual level to what seems more and more like another quintessential Jordan Peele event movie.

That "absolute spectacle" he mentions is intercut with more moments of domestic horror, including OJ's horse getting spooked at night and running off into the distance, his close brush with what looks to be a tornado, the power to their ranch house abruptly cut off, and yet another blink-and-miss moment of the mysterious UFO flitting in between the clouds overhead that forces him to outright flee for his life while his sister screams at him to run.

Proof of life

It's at this point in the trailer that, right after the "From Jordan Peele" title card arrives, the footage switches gears entirely from the moody atmosphere we've grown accustomed to and reminds us that Peele has always been just as effective at humor as he is at horror. Surprisingly, the trailer fills us in on what the larger premise appears to be. OJ and Emerald aren't just going to sit around and wait for their pesky intruders to come back, so they've gone out and set up a foolproof plan to catch the UFO on camera — a sly wink and a nod to the fact that real-world UFOs are rarely (if ever) actually filmed in crystal clear 4K resolution. "I'm talking rich and famous for life," Emerald excitedly tells her brother as she formulates their scheme to turn these traumatizing events to their advantage and capture that sweet "Oprah shot" of the UFO.

Of course, that means recruiting a couple more characters into the fold to help them pull this off.

Getting the team together

First, this "Get rich quick" scheme brings helpful (but clueless) Tech Team employee Angel (Brandon Perea) into the action, though with one more key ingredient needed to bring it all home. As I always say: when in doubt, bring in Michael Wincott. To the delight of many, it would appear that the "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "The Crow," and "Strange Days" actor will have a much more sizable role than we may have anticipated. Here, he plays the delightfully named Antlers Holst, a movie director who Emerald calls in as "the only person in the world" who can get the shot they need. Up until today, who had any idea that "Nope" might end up resembling a heist film rather than the outright horror vibe Peele infused "Us" with? Maybe we should've listened when Palmer was quoted as saying that "Nope" will be its own thing altogether.

But even with all these amusing hijinks, you had to know there were some more complications coming, right? Cue even more off-putting imagery of objects smashing into OJ's car windshield from the sky, a cloud that Antlers observes hasn't budged from its spot overhead ... and copious amounts of blood raining onto their house. As Emerald remarks, "I think we pissed them off."

Raining blood

Okay, here's one of the coolest shots we've seen from any trailer for "Nope." That UFO we've been talking about all along? It's big enough that when parked directly over the Haywood ranch, it blocks out any rain from landing on the house and instead sends it streaming off its edges to land in a neat circumference around the property. Oh yeah, and it looks like the UFO may have sprayed blood all over the place, too. So what are a group of UFO enthusiasts supposed to do except redouble their efforts to strike back, defend their home, and get that all-important money shot of extraterrestrials? Again, this all feels completely different from what we all assumed this movie would be like and I am totally here for it.

Granted, it's dangerous to rely too much on the tone that a piece of marketing is selling, given how adept trailer editors are at using music or carefully selected shots to make a movie seem more comedic or more serious than it may actually be in context. That said, I'm digging how much more overtly Peele seems to be trading in comedy and horror, blending the two despite how many moviegoers seem convinced that multiple tones can't coexist in the same movie. Thank goodness for Peele, folks.

'It's not what you think'

The flurry of footage that rounds out the trailer expands the borders of the story even more, hitting us with an array of images that include our main characters doomsday-prepping for invaders in their house and possibly retrieving someone who was abducted by the UFO, an odd shot of one man walking in a daze towards whatever everyone else is running away from, the above shot of an abandoned locale as Kaluuya's character states that, "They took 'em all," and the apparent revelation that their extraterrestrial enemies won't take people if they don't look directly at it. Throughout it all, the mystery of whether these are actually aliens or not and whether our heroes' desperate attempts to fight back will prove effective hangs over the entire trailer.

Overall, this concluding stretch teases much more of an action/adventure vibe than the claustrophobic horror sold in the early days of the film's marketing. Is this merely an attempt to appeal to an even more wide-ranging group of audiences or will the film truly end up a tonally-balanced blend of everything we've seen to this point? I have absolutely no idea and I can't even articulate how much that excites me, especially in a day and age where we seem to know far more about new movies going in than we ever have before. Sometimes, it's nice to be surprised! We'll find out how much Jordan Peele has kept hidden from us when "Nope" flies into theaters on July 22, 2022.