Title – Nerve (2016)
Director – Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (Catfish)
Cast – Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis
Plot – Signing up for the dangerous online game of Nerve where keyboard warriors can choose dares for the participants, the usually quiet Venus “Vee” (Roberts) finds herself teaming up with fellow contestant Ian (Franco) for what ends up being a wild night of increasingly dangerous and potentially deadly dares.
“Are you a Watcher? Or a Player?”
Review by Eddie on 29/03/2017
Returning to the technology based groundwork that served them so well with the 2010 documentary (or is it?) Catfish, filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman this time turn their focus onto the world of online voyeurism and communities with the way better than it should be Nerve, a fun, fast and colourful experience that loses its way in the home stretch but offers a great time leading up to it.
Conjuring up an online game that feels like it could quite possibly exist in today’s modern climate of online trends, social media and wannabe superstars, Joost and Schulman imbed Nerve with a strange form of reality that both says something about the climate of our tech savvy and obsessed life, whilst offering up a fun form of adventure to the dark side of the world wide web as Emma Robert’s Venus and Dave “charisma free” Franco’s Ian team up to compete in an online version of truth or dare (without the truth), fuelled by watchers and donators that lead the duo on an increasingly dangerous journey.
The set-up of this idea as Vee and Ian meet and take off on a night of dares is farfetched in many regards but undoubtedly fun and Roberts and Franco make for a good double team as Joost and Schulman instil Nerve with an eye-catching colour palette, while the hip soundtrack fits the style of the film perfectly making the production a polished and inviting one that for a large portion of the films brief runtime offers up great entertainment, until the film losses its nerve on the back of increasingly outlandish and over the top scenarios.
From blindfolded bikes rides, questionable character decisions, right through to a thoroughly misjudged finale that feels like it belongs to another film altogether, Nerve sadly can’t maintain its initial drawing power which is a shame as the whole universe here feels well built up but unsure of its end game, even if this premise feels as though it could quite easily become some form of Saw like franchise for tech driven thrills and spills.
A pleasant and frenetic cinematic diversion, Nerve may not reach the heights it sometimes threatens to get to but this unique and often thrilling premise makes for one of last year’s best teen targeted pieces of eye-candy and a potentially franchise starting event that could well be one of the better new properties to emerge in recent years.
3 mooning’s out of 5