Trailers, giving the game away, and the final Nope trailer

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Trailers have been getting increasingly spoiler-filled for some time now, but the final sneak peek of Jordan Peele’s Nope seems to take it too far.

Creating a good trailer for a film is a complicated balancing act. Studios need to show us enough of the good bits to get us intrigued and excited, but not so much that watching the movie is made redundant. In recent years, especially when it comes to the most mainstream of films, it seems this rule is being gradually thrown out. These movies get multiple trailers, each with new footage not seen before, and when you actually go to see the film you realise these previews are more like highlights – you’ve already seen all the best bits. This is becoming so prevalent that I know several people (including the editor of this site) who have sworn off trailers altogether.


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After seeing the final preview of Jordan Peele’s latest horror, Nope – which is now playing widely before screenings of The Black Phone – I can see why.

Seated for a screening of Scott Derrickson’s aforementioned thriller The Black Phone (which, by the way, I would recommend), I was helpless to avoid a mountain of spoilers as the trailer played on the big screen in front of me.  For those of you unaware of the film’s premise, the first synopsis that was released reads ‘caretakers at a California horse ranch encounter a mysterious force that affects human and animal behaviour.’ You might think ‘mysterious’ should be the key word there.

Nope's initial trailers, featuring many of the cast, including Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Keith David, simply showed a mysterious cloud lingering above the ranch, and some of the strange ways this affects its inhabitants. While there have been fan theories surrounding what this threat could be, it wasn’t explicitly given away.

Until now.

Not only does the final trailer – and I’m going very spoiler light here – reveal the exact cause of the troubling events, but then goes even further, showing some of the exact ways the protagonists can evade and overcome the threat.

Director Jordan Peele has gained much attention for his first two horror features – Get Out and Us – and his films are undoubtedly ones that are best enjoyed by going in completely blind. This trailer, then, feels like one huge spoiler for a movie that hasn’t even been released yet. The film’s Wikipedia page inevitably also bears an updated synopsis that reveals just as much as the new preview. This may yet all be misdirection, and Peele may have happily signed off on it all. But still: there are things here I’d far rather have found out from watching the film.

The tendency to include so much of the plot in modern film trailers is becoming increasingly frustrating (appreciating this is not a new problem). From my own perspective, part of the fun of watching a film for the first time is not knowing how it’s going to progress. Nowadays, in order to be surprised by a film you’re looking forward to, you need to ensure that you avoid all marketing for it.

When trailers like the one for Peele’s Nope continually give away important plot points, you have to wonder: is there really any need to watch the film at all?

If previews continue on the road to becoming a condensed reel of highlights, I’d suggest the answer might be no.

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