One of Nope’s Scariest Scenes Eats You Alive
There is a calm before the storm Star Lasso. Ricky stares up at the metallic disc hidden in cloudy camouflage, flags dangling from the opening of his mouth from the practice horse he tried to nibble on. It’s a staring moment as Ricky calms his preview customers, assuring everyone that there is no current danger. Ricky says the “No” monster only eats horses – he also guarantees everyone that their lives will change forever. Unfortunately, Ricky is correct on one of those assumptions. Shame.
All eyes are on Ricky’s guest of honor as the levitating void descends upon the Star Lasso crowd. Ricky’s family, Jupiter’s Claim employees, and eager visitors begin to scream as they are transported in the flying beast. The camera’s perspective tightens against Ricky’s face as he can’t help but stare skyward, fixated on the “evil miracle” above, not the chaos and frightened panic surrounding him. We’re not 100% sure of OJ’s special visitor right now, but Ricky’s insane fantasy of taming the creature with his Star Lasso encounter answers most questions.
Mind you, that’s not even the scary part.
Peele removes all mystery of what The Suckening entails because we’re pulled inside the guts of the creature. The camera shows Ricky’s wife, Amber (Wrenn Schmidt), trapped between fabrics or tissues as she is pushed upwards in a claustrophobic nightmare. It’s like a reverse throat as Amber screams her head, covered in smooth lubrication that feels like bloody viscera. She is pushed higher and higher until she comes face to face with the fake horse head lodged in the monster’s gut – but her fate is sealed. She is devoured. There is no escape.
We don’t even see Amber die on screen, but Peele mortifies by the implications alone. The experience of sliding into a massive stomach while remaining conscious is like diving headfirst into an anaconda. The cinematography makes the breath impossible, playing against the multiple popular paranoias. This is the scariest streak I’ve seen so far in 2022 by a moonshot.