Written and directed by Jordan Peele, ‘Nope’ is a genre-bending horror film. The plot revolves around siblings Otis “OJ” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer), who inherit their ancestral ranch after the death of their father. OJ tries to keep their father’s dream alive by running the ranch, while Em sets her sight on Hollywood. However, after some time, horses start to go missing and the business deteriorates. Just when the siblings decide to sell the ranch, they discover the source of their problem is otherworldly in nature. If you have watched ‘Nope’ and loved it, here is a list of recommendations that might fit your taste. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Nope’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Circle (2015)
Inspired by the 1957 film ’12 Angry Man, ‘Circle has an interesting premise. A group of people of diverse ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations finds themselves in a darkened room assembled in two concentric circles around a black, shiny object. None of them seems to have any recollection of who they are. Whenever someone steps off their respective red platforms or refuses to heed instructions, a beam from the object kills them. After the deaths of several people, the group discovers that they have been inadvertently voting for others’ eliminations with their hand gestures. Like ‘Nope,’ ‘Circle’ is a tightly-scripted horror film with a definitive extra-terrestrial element. Moreover, both films are thematically ambitious and aren’t constrained by the horror tag.
6. Attack the Block (2011)
‘Attack the Block’ is the very film that introduced John Boyega to the big screen. It also stars Jodie Whittaker, long before she became the Thirteenth Doctor. In ‘Attack the Block,’ trainee nurse Samantha Adams (Whittaker) is robbed by a group of young men led by Moses (Boyega) on Guy Fawkes Night. Suddenly, meteors start to fall, and aliens emerge from them. Like the Haywood siblings in ‘Nope,’ Moses and his crew try to find a way to monetize their experience.
5. Under the Skin (2013)
There are very few films that are as profoundly disturbing and unsettlingly stunning as Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin.’ Set against the gloomy backdrop of Scotland, ‘Under the Skin’ follows two mysterious individuals — a woman (Scarlett Johansson) that preys on men and the motorcyclist following her. The woman travels from one town to another, catches men, and drowns them into liquid nothingness. Like ‘Nope,’ ‘Under the Skin’ is a social observation and a commentary on the world around us, neatly wrapped in a horror package.
4. Alien (1979)
Speaking of films that unsettle us, Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ appeals to our inherent sense of fear on a fundamental level. Set in the future, the plot revolves around the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo. As they return to Earth, the crew comes across a potential distress signal from a nearby moon. They decide to check it out and discover that it originated from the ruins of an alien ship. Ripley, the warrant officer on Nostromo, believes that the signal is a warning. She is soon proven horribly right when an alien entity begins to kill the crew one by one. Scott is a pioneer in both horror and science fiction genres. Like Peele, his films can rarely be cataloged in one genre, even if they are superlative examples of the said genre.
3. Signs (2002)
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, ‘Signs’ tells the story of a farming family living in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The patriarch, Graham Hess (Mel Gibson), is a former preacher who lost his faith after the death of his wife. He lives on the farm with his brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix) and his two children, Morgan and Bo. When mysterious crop circles start to appear in Graham’s cornfield. Local authorities initially think that vandals are behind them, but when the crop circles begin to appear all over the world, Hess and his family realize that Earth is on the verge of an alien invasion. Like Peele, Shyamalan has a unique perspective as a horror filmmaker. His immigrant roots often fuel his creativity, and ‘Signs’ is a great example of that.
2. Close Encounter of Third Kind (1977)
In the early years of his career, it took Steven Spielberg considerable time to materialize his dream project, ‘Close Encounter of Third Kind.’ Like ‘Nope,’ and several other entries on the list, it is about an alien encounter. However, the extra-terrestrial cultures in the two films are fundamentally different. ‘Close Encounter of Third Kind’ boasts an ensemble cast of characters and encompasses the entire world in its narrative.
1. The Thing (1982)
Made by John Carpenter, one of Peele’s personal heroes, ‘The Thing‘ takes place in and around an American research station in Antarctica. The American researchers find the remains of a malformed humanoid after their violent encounter with the Norwegian researchers. They take the burned remains to their base to study them properly and realize that they might be alien in origin. Moreover, the entity they belong to seems to have the ability to take any shape it wants. As it begins to wreak havoc in the facility, the surviving humans try to set aside their differences and distrust to take on the entity collectively.