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Nerve: A Neat Techno Thriller That is A Lot of Fun

November 2, 2016



Nerve is neat little film that felt like a breath of fresh air alongside other 2016 movies like Neon Demon, Don’t Breathe, The Shallows and Hell or High Water. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to watch something that isn’t a sequel, prequel or remake. I love how this YA book adaption came out of nowhere and caught me off guard with its likable qualities and lack of dystopian moping. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish, Paranormal Activity 3) have a history with social media gone wrong and I love how they made such a great looking film on a tight budget of $20 million.

Nerve tells the story of a night gone awry due to a dangerous social media app called Nerve. The game revolves around “players” and watchers” engaging in crazy antics that become more and more intense. If the “players” keep succeeding and completing the dares they get paid an increasing amount of money until they can’t complete one of the tasks. The dares innocently start with kissing a stranger and build to jumping across train tracks or hanging from massive cranes. The dares are controlled by the “watchers” and there are obvious parallels to online bullying and the insanity of the anonymous internet culture.

The hero of the story is the 18-year old Vee (Emma Roberts). Vee plays it safe and prefers to hide behind her camera where she can take great pictures and not engage with the world. She has been accepted into a prestigious art school but doesn’t have the money or strength to tell her mom she wants to the leave NYC and move to California. After a particularly egregious embarrassment at school she gets involved in Nerve and finds herself teamed up with bad boy Ian (Dave Franco). From there the two likable characters engage in a whole lot of shenanigans before it all becomes too real and dangerous.



What I like about Nerve is that it simply wants to entertain and drop a quick message about online bullying. The characters all evolve and even the the biggest punks come around at the end and prove themselves to be three-dimensional. Also, the movie looks great and the cinematography by Michael Simmonds makes NYC look like a wonderland of blue lights and little trash. Nerve is a quality film that succeeds in creating a likable time capsule that I will gladly revisit.



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