More contemplative and slower-paced than Jordan Peele’s earlier works “Get Out” or “Us,” “Nope” is nonetheless a smart, and often surprising, perspective on aliens and what they might be doing on our planet.

Siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) own a horse ranch in California, where they grew up and learned about horses from their dad, Otis (Keith David), a Hollywood legend who trained horses for a variety of movies.

Now OJ has sold off the horses to a theme park run by Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun), a former child star whose sitcom and career ended in a bloody massacre involving a chimpanzee.

OJ and Emerald think there may be something lurking in the clouds overhead, and they wonder whether a business opportunity is at hand. They get some help from a technician (Brandon Perea) at an electronics store, and also enlist the help of a longtime cinematographer (Michael Wincott) with the help of capturing whatever is buzzing around the skies.

The brother and sister want proof of whatever is up there.

It wouldn’t be fair to tell you much more than that. The movie isn’t just about our world’s relationship to aliens. It’s also about how we work for and/or against each other, and our perspective of animals that need to be “tamed.”

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Daniel Kaluuya in a scene from “Nope.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

One of the movie’s best scenes is a flashback in which we see what happened in the 1990s show in which Jupe starred.

Peele is great at building up tension, and does it ever build here, in a pace that’s sometimes frustratingly slow. But there’s a payoff – one that had some viewers laughing either in astonishment or surprise (I honestly couldn’t tell.)

All the performances are terrific, and the look of the film is wonderful, too, especially after the revelation toward the end. It’s Palmer who owns the movie, and whose character serves as the catalyst for so much of the story line.

The film ends with a jolt, as though Peele is saying “Take THAT. Now leave the theater and think about it.”

And so you should, while waiting to see what Peele comes up to scare us with next.

3 1/2 stars

Running time: Two hours and 10 minutes.

Rated: R for violence, foul language and gore.

At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.