6 Movies To Watch If You Loved Nope

Jordan Peele's third outing as a director, "Nope" tells the tale of a family of Hollywood horse trainers that date back to the beginning of Hollywood. No one seems to care about their contributions, but they still go to work every day. When the patriarch of the family, Otis Haywood (Keith David), is killed mysteriously, his kids, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Em (Keke Palmer) struggle to keep themselves afloat in a business that would just as soon chew them up and spit them out.

When they realize something otherworldly is stealing their horses and hunting them, they get to work capturing it on film and — if they can — defeating it. Perhaps the prey can chew the predator up and spit it out for a change if they can just figure out what makes it tick.

Peele tells an atmospheric horror story that provides an allegory for talent in a system that doesn't care about it and creates another star vehicle for Daniel Kaluuya and another of his knock-out performances. The film is tense at times and beautifully shot, weird and wonderful, and takes cues from a number of classics of the genre. If you enjoyed it (or even if you didn't) these six films will sate your appetite for other films of its ilk.

Jaws (1975)

If there's a film "Nope" is most reminiscent of, it's Steven Spielberg's 1975 hit "Jaws." "Jaws" tells the tale of a small island community plagued by an intensely territorial Great White Shark that has chosen the beaches around it as its feeding ground. The local sheriff takes it upon himself to rid the island of the threat, even though the politicians in town would rather preserve the status quo and make money on summer tourists who may well be eaten.

The structure of both "Jaws" and "Nope" is remarkably similar. In the pre-credits sequence, someone is killed mysteriously by a monster and the characters slowly learn what's happening and how to defeat the monster. There's even a Quint-like character in Michael Wincott's character, cinematographer Antlers Host. Instead of trying to kill the beast, though, Host's aim is to document it on film, willing to risk his life if necessary to capture the impossible shot.

The Host (2006)

Taking cues from classic monster movies like "Godzilla," "The Host" tells the story of American malfeasance in South Korea that leads to a monster of indeterminate origin crawling out of the river and eating people. A family is left to try to defeat the monster and who knows if they'll make it?

"The Host" cleverly balances the horror, the monster, and humor in the same way Jordan Peele is able to capture in "Nope," giving the audience as many chances to laugh as to jump out of their skin. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, it also delivers a healthy dose of political commentary, just as Jordan Peele's films tend to. It's a must-watch for any horror fan, but watching it back-to-back with "Nope" will show you how similar these films are in really fascinating ways.

The Thing (1982)

Keith David has a small part in "Nope," but he's one of the leads in John Carpenter's classic 1982 horror film "The Thing." For those who might not know, "The Thing" tells the tale of a group of scientists in a remote arctic research station confronting an alien terror hunting them one by one. With a cast led by Kurt Russell and David, the movie really sings in its ensemble, which is something that carries "Nope" as well. The different personalities grappling with what's going on offers a tension in discovery that "Nope" patterns well. And, let's face it, watching a group of characters come together in order to defeat an alien presence is always satisfying and no one does it better than this Carpenter film.

Though the ending to "The Thing" is much stronger in its note of ambiguity than the final moments of "Nope," you can trace the threads between the two films easily and both are worth your time.

The Birds (1963)

Alfred Hitchcock offered his take on killer animals from the sky in his 1963 special effects extravaganza, "The Birds." Starring Tippi Hedren, this film is less about understanding the beasts or finding a way to defeat them, it's more about the human story beneath it, and Hedren finding what it is that she needs in her life while at the same time running from the vicious, avian killers.

"Nope" is well-served by bringing out that human story for many of the characters. The character who might be the most like Hedren's character is Steven Yeun's Ricky Park. He's the one searching for some meaning in what happened in his life, clinging to what happened with an assured confidence that isn't warranted by his inner life.

"The Birds" is a watershed moment in horror cinema as far as aerial monster attacks and is a must-see for film fans, especially for what it accomplished on analog film at the time of its release.

The Mist (2007)

Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's "The Mist" remains one of those great adaptations that gets talked about less than it should. It tells the tale of a mysterious mist that shrouds creatures from ... somewhere ... as they swoop in and murder people. With little hope of survival, Thomas Jane leads a band of folks from a grocery store and out in the road, trying desperately to escape.

This is another film with an ending better than "Nope," but it's a different type of ending — far less ambiguous and more content with the turn it takes. "Nope" feels more interested in making a point with that final feeling the audience is left with, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the ending of "The Mist" is grueling and sadistic. Stephen King has even commented that if he would have thought of the ending to this film as Darabont did, he would have written the story that way in the first place.

Get Out (2017)

For any fan of "Nope," it is worth revisiting Jordan Peele's first film, "Get Out." It's a masterpiece of horror and somehow, perhaps, still the best film he's produced. It's another star vehicle for Daniel Kaluuya and tells a story predicated on racism, both on a personal and a systemic level, and holds a mirror up to the world. It's as uncomfortable as it is scary and takes many more twists and turns.

Jordan Peele is an incredible voice in cinema, and "Get Out" and "Nope" taken together capture what he's capable of as a filmmaker and an auteur. He writes, produces, and directs on his own and his thumbprint undeniably exists on every frame of film he shoots.