'Like Jaws meets Close Encounters': critics hail Jordan Peele's Nope

Keke Palmer's Emerald Haywood looks shocked and scared in Jordan Peele's latest horror movie Nope
Nope, Jordan Peele's latest feature film hasn't been panned by critics. (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The first reactions for Nope, Jordan Peele's latest horror movie, are in – and critics have been lavishing praise on the award-winning director's latest film.

Nope, which lands in theaters on Friday, July 22 in the US – it's out in the UK on Friday, August 12 and Thursday, August 4 in Australia – has received universally positive reactions following its world premiere, which was held on Monday, July 18. 

The horror movie, which stars Black Panther alumnus Daniel Kaluuya, Lightyear actor Keke Palmer, and Invincible's Steven Yeun among others, is the latest feature from Peele's Monkeypaw Productions and Universal Pictures. And, based on journalists and other attendees' reactions, it could be the best and most terrifying film of 2022.

First up is Erik Davis, regular scribe for Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes. Taking to Twitter post-premiere, Davis called Nope "one of the best films I've watched this year", adding that Palmer's performance stood out among the movie's talented cast:

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CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg picked out Peele's ability to craft "detailed, layered, and fascinating horror films", and even went as far as to say it's an "excellent tribute to Jaws":

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Clearly, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed 1975 shark-centric horror film was a big influence on Nope, with other critics finding parallels between the two flicks. Freelance journalist Brandon Norwood called Nope "a cross between Jaws and Close Encounters [of the Third Kind]", while another freelancer critic in Simon Thompson likened it to the same movies.

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Nightmar1sh's Shannon McGrew said Nope was "an experience you won't be able to shake off", while ComicBook.com's Chris Killian labeled it an "entertaining head-scratcher, equal parts confusing and terrifying":

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Other premiere attendees offered their two cents on the film's less horror-infused vibes, too. POC Culture called Palmer and Kaluuya "pitch perfect as a sibling duo", as well as lauding Yeun's and Brandon Perea's performances as key supporting cast members. Meanwhile, Daily Dead News' Heather Wixson suggested Nope "perfectly blends... sci-fi spectacle with a story that's also something of a Hollywood reckoning". How intriguing:

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Finally, Beyond the Trailer's Grace Randolph said Nope was a movie akin to "Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Tarantino having a baby". High praise indeed, then, for Jordan Peele's latest cinematic endeavor:

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Set in present day California, Nope tells the story of Palmer's Emerald and Kaluuya's OJ Haywood, siblings who work on their dead father's ranch. One day, the duo encounter an unidentified flying object (UFO) and attempt to capture video evidence for the whole world to see. 

The pair enlist the help of Perea's tech salesman Angel Torres and documentarian Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), while Yeun's Ricky "Jupe" Park also tries to muscle in on the potentially money spinning project. Unbeknownst to the quintet, though, their would-be documentary stars aren't about to play ball – and it isn't long before things start to go terribly, terribly wrong.

For more horror film-based content, check out our list of the best horror movies of all-time. Alternatively, read up on the best horror films available on Netflix.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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