Director: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
By Sarah Stopforth
Emma Roberts and Dave Franco star in this techno-thriller, neo-noir, adrenaline-fuelled film Nerve. Roberts plays Venus “Vee,” a high school senior on Staten Island, New York, whose ambition is photography. Vee’s best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) is obsessed with an online game entitled “Nerve” – a reality game that users can partake in either anonymously as “watchers” or publicly as “players.” Players take dares from watchers, and receive money as a reward if they successful achieve the dare. The riskier the dare, the more money is up for grabs. Vee is completely indifferent to Sydney’s interest in the game, which results in some prodding from her other friends about her not-so-outgoing personality. Fed up with her constant safe decisions, Vee decides to start Nerve, as a player. Upon signing up, Nerve records all of her personal information automatically from bank details to personal information. The three rules of the game? All dares are to be recorded on the player’s smartphone, all money earned from previous dares can be taken back if they player ‘fails or bails’ the dare, and no law enforcement.
Vee’s first dare is innocent enough, to “kiss a stranger for 5 seconds.” Her adorable other best friend Tommy (Miles Heizer, Parenthood) accompanies her, questioning her motives for ‘playing’ as it is very out of character for her. Vee spots someone reading To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, her favourite author, and decides he is the one. Known as Ian (Dave Franco), he happens to be an experienced Nerve player. From here, Ian takes Vee down the rabbit whole (into Manhattan) where she finds herself doing more dangerous dares, and the stakes get higher and higher.
The film was greatly entertaining and a good thrill for the system. It also made a very interesting commentary on the way technology can rule our lives if we let it and demonstrated the pathway into how ‘reality stars’ are created, and then subverted.
If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, seeing Dave Franco in his undies, and a commentary on the modern world, then Nerve is for you.