Stars: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Juliette Lewis, Kimiko Glenn, Marc John Jefferies, Machine Gun Kelly, Brian ‘Sene’ Marc, Ed Squires, Rightor Doyle, Samira Wiley | Written by Jessica Sharzer | Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
What would you do to win enough movie to live the life of your dreams? If there was a game of dare that could give you this, would you take the risk? Welcome to the world of Nerve.
When Vee (Emma Roberts) decides to play Nerve, her first dare puts her on the same path as Ian (Dave Franco) a ‘stranger’ she was dared to kiss. As more people tune in online to see their adventure and what will they do next, little does she know that the stakes will get higher, and that Ian may know more about the game than he is letting on.
With the release of Watch Dogs 2, it is almost perfect timing that Nerve has been released as they share a common DNA. The fictional world where followers and viewers are everything and popularity helps you to win is something that is hotly debated right now. We’ve even seen the dark side of this culture on Black Mirror Season 3. The real question is does Nerve have the same impact? For that matter, does Watch Dogs 2?
The simple question to that is that Nerve is more of a relaxed Watch Dogs 2, where the hacking is more of a side story and not the main focus. Nerve is more about the power of the audience and peer pressure to push teenagers into doing stupid things, and not reaching the darker tones seen in Black Mirror.
While there are elements in this film that we have seen before, including in films like Hostel and Cheap Thrills, the events we see on-screen in Nerve never really have the same impact. There is almost a safety net in place, as we know that everything will work out fine for these kids, and that we are being preached at as the audience. This becomes more and more obvious the deeper into the story the film gets.
The softer approach to Nerve doesn’t make it any more interesting, it just makes it a little too predictable at times. The fact that the characters all have moments of being obnoxious also tends to hold it back a little. The reason for this though is obvious, this is about the characters learning a lesson, and to do that they have to show that they have something to learn about themselves.
What I did enjoy about Nerve is the pairing of Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, there is chemistry there that makes the film work. Franco is very charismatic and is perfect for the character of Ian, he is the seductor, while Vee is the innocent ready to be manipulated. If you want real impact in this type of situation, I’d say to go hunt down Cheap Thrills starring Pat Healy, which is a much more adult film.
What Nerve is really is a teen movie that tries to add a little social commentary about how we view things on the internet and the role of instant gratification in our lives. It poses some interesting stories, but in the end does take a softly softly approach. If like me you are fine with this, then this isn’t a bad film at all.
For film fans, especially the more geeky who have seen enough films, you’ll be able to see many story elements that have been borrowed from other movies. To add the cherry on the cake? Juliette Lewis and Samira Wiley’s inclusion in the cast will always get a thumbs up from me!
Nerve is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Download now.