Nerve Review

The Plot

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of ‘watchers’

The Good

Emma Roberts stars in this engaging thriller which adds an interesting twist to the world of social networking with Nerve, an app which allows people to live stream dares which are matched to fit their online profiles from anonymous ‘watchers’. So for example, if you’re afraid of heights, your dare will be attributed to get the best reactions. Jessica Sharzer’s script does a wonderful job of making the premise feel realistic which adds to the ironically unnerving sense of the film. As Vee (Roberts) decides to finally step outside her comfort zone after a humiliating experience with a crush, she joins nerve as a ‘player’ where she is dared to kiss a stranger. Things soon escalate as Vee and the stranger, Ian (Franco) are banded together by the ‘watchers’ and given dares which start becoming more and more dangerous.

Franco and Roberts are a perfect match as they roam the city, gaining more and more followers both virtually and in reality in the form of anonymous people lit up only by their cell phones. Their chemistry is really what makes the film work, not feeling forced at all, while the story feeds such a simple idea but one that feels minutes away from happening in real life. Twists and turns come along the way as the elusive Ian is slowly revealed to have ulterior motives.

The Bad

As a general concept, Nerve works particularly well. However there is at least one storyline which feels a touch forced especially towards its conclusion. As Vee continues to complete dares, she receives rewards from the watchers in the form of bank transfers which gradually get larger and larger dependant on how tricky the dare is. With this comes Juliette Lewis as Vee’s mother, who becomes more and more confused with the sudden activity in their joint bank account. It works well to begin with but when she becomes more involved with the storyline it just feels out of place. Had she just been outside of the main story for the entirety it could have been a nice addition.

On the subject of the films ending, there does seem to be the sense of a tacked on cliffhanger which feels clearly like it’s there simply to have an option for a sequel should the film succeed. However with the way in which the final act plays out it would perhaps not be the wisest of choices.

The Ugly Truth

Emma Roberts and Dave Franco have a great chemistry and prove they are more than capable of carrying a movie on their own. This is undoubtedly also due in part to the genuinely realistic and intriguing concept. There are a couple of issues with the overall ending, particularly Juliette Lewis’ part. For the most part however, Nerve is a fantastic ride!

Review by Johnny Ellis

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