Published by: Anthony Wallace
From the directors of Paranormal 3 & 4, are Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s take on a game that takes a person to their limits and once you start you’ll have to finish, or else. When Vee is pressured to take risks for a change by her best friend Sydney, she takes part in a viral game called Nerve. What starts as an innocent game of truth or dare soon takes a turn towards danger as complicated scenarios are thrown Vee’s way that could mean between life and death. The movie stars Dave Franco and Emma Roberts.
This movie reminded me a lot of ‘13 Sins‘ (2014) which has a similar premise when it came to making money and how someone is thrust into a deadly game with everything to lose. It worked as a thriller as the main character had to complete a series of tests but with each one being more dangerous as the last. But as for ‘Nerve‘ we get a more modern take on how the game utilizes social media to thrust people into uncharted territory and even to the point where it turns players against each other. Another way of looking at it is how so many people have embraced Pokemon Go and hearing how far people would go in catching all of the Pokemon, from getting into accidents or walking off cliffs. Now most of the events were unintended but the gist of it is in the fact that it created a social media storm.
Let’s start with the performances by Emma Roberts and Dave Franco as they each participate in Nerve but also finding attraction for one another at some point along the way. This in many ways was Franco’s first stand out performance, coming off of the Now You See Me franchise and ‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising‘ that came out earlier this year. He did a good job and was likable as a character who ends up playing a pivotal role along the way. Same can be said for Emma Roberts who at times can make it not seem believable; especially when she’s known for playing it safe to then jumping into being a risk taker. You do get a sense of understanding though for Vee as someone who wants to better herself and wants to move out of her mom’s home. By participating in Nerve it not only breaks her fear of risk but she can also make money along the way as a means.
Without giving away spoilers as it’s implied in the trailer is how focus was put on the use of social media and the consequences that could follow. The game requires both watchers and viewers which after the movie you’ll understand to the extent of what I am saying. It brought to light how influential social media can have on people, good or bad, and how being a watcher is just as powerful. The ending to the movie is where I’m making my point and it reminded me of how feeding into an event or participating in something that you’re not so sure about can be just as dangerous as to those behind the lens. Things that came to mind were bullying or even the political climate where the media can influence viewers in ways we don’t even know and can sometimes determine the outcome.
Some of the problems I had with ‘Nerve‘ stemmed from the lack of origin of how the game came to be. It’s given some explanation of how the game exists but is treated as a game that doesn’t have an origin. However, what got me the most was how illogical and irresponsible watchers could be when it came to daring people. Some of the challenges were downright dangerous and made you think that the watchers were the real villains as they watch people die from dares they all agreed to. The love component between Vee and Ian is unrealistic and always makes me wonder why that’s thrown in because they easily could’ve turned into good friends. It’s almost as if the filmmakers were trying to appeal to the female audience when in fact the movie was advertised as an action thriller. Last but not least, this is a one trick pony and doesn’t have a re-watchability to it which may as well have been put straight to Video-On-Demand.
There is fun to be had with a premise that isn’t so original and some good chemistry between James Franco and Emma Roberts, but ultimately the thrills go over the top and becomes illogical as the movie progresses. Without making comparisons, ‘Nerve‘ is definitely better then Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s found footage projects in horror. That said, it is entertaining enough and has some jaw dropping camera work especially if you have a fear of heights.
What do you guys think of ‘Nerve‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.