At a time when Social Media is overtaking the world, Nerve comes along and brings with it a story line that highlights the dangers and risks we face when all our information can be found online – whether we put it out there for public consumption or not. The film follows Vee (Emma Roberts), a high school senior who is known as the quiet one in her group of friends. Her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) is the complete opposite to her, she is loud and confident and is currently high up in the ranks of a new online game – Nerve. The game involves ‘Watchers’ and ‘Players’. ‘Players’ are given dares by the ‘Watchers’ and if they complete the dare then they achieve a sum of money, with the amount increasing the harder the dare. Vee is initially uninterested but when Sydney makes the comment that Vee would never have it in her to be a ‘Player’ something in Vee snaps and she signs herself up to prove Sydney and everyone else wrong. Her first dare leads her to meeting another ‘Player’, Ian (Dave Franco), and they soon find themselves pairing up to complete dares together. However, it quickly becomes clear that there is something higher going on and as the dares get more and more dangerous there seems to be no way out of the game. It’s then down to Ian, Vee and her friends to find a way to take down the game before someone gets seriously hurt.
Nerve hasn’t had much promotion – especially over here – but I love both Emma Roberts and Dave Franco and the trailer looked like it could be quite good. Of course I was worried that the trailer might be the best part, but the idea interested me as it wouldn’t surprise me if something like this happened in the not too distant future. Social Media has very much taken over our lives and though there are always security settings etc on our various platforms, there’s always a worry that our information can be accessed by someone clever enough to hack the system. The way that Nerve tackles this is very good, particularly how quickly the game spreads across the city and brings in so many people. It’s ultimately down to these people that the game continues, it’s through the anonymous ‘Watchers’ that dares are made. I thought the writers were very clever in highlighting how easy it is to get others to do dangerous actions when no one knows who you are.
Emma Roberts is perfect as Vee, it’s clear from the start who her character is and so it’s not surprising that she snaps and wants to try something different. It’s not about peer pressure, it’s about testing herself and finding out who she really is. The only slightly unbelievable thing is her inability to even talk to a boy she likes at school – though this is probably only due to the fact Emma is stunning and would naturally have all the guys after her! I really like Emma as an actress, and this is the first role I’ve seen her in which has something a bit more gritty to it. Hopefully this will lead her on to more things in the future. Dave Franco is another favourite of mine, and I love his character in this. There’s the initial bad boy look with the leather jacket and motorbike, but it’s soon clear that he’s a really nice guy. His character is shrouded in mystery and it’s not until near the end that we find out the real reason as to why he is playing the game. Dave and Emma work really well together, their character’s relationship is totally believable and you will be rooting for them the whole way through.
The visual effects in Nerve are brilliant and we are given all sorts of camera angles including ones where the characters are looking directly into the camera but in the pretence that they are looking at their phone/laptop/TV screens. As the audience we are very much drawn into the concept of the game. One of the rules is that the ‘Players’ must film themselves completing the dares and so there are many occasions where we watch the action through their phone screens. There are also comments from ‘Watchers’ that appear on screen keeping us in the loop as to what they are all thinking as the various dares take place.
The whole film takes place over the course of one day with the aim being that the top two ‘Players’ complete one final dare in order to crown the winner. However as the dangers of the game slowly reveal itself, this adds to the tension and thrilling nature of the film as the countdown to get out of the game begins. Classed as a thriller, it most certainly is. Once Vee enters the game things start to get very exciting and you will be gripped the whole way through, right up to the very end and it’s surprising conclusion! There’s a great supporting cast too from Emily Meade as Sydney and Miles Heizer as Tommy – another friend of Vee’s who is clearly in love with her. There’s also Kimiko Glenn and Samira Wiley – otherwise known as SoSo and Poussey from Orange Is the New Black – myself and my friend (both massive OITNB fans) were very excited to see them when they first popped up, although sadly the two characters don’t actually meet in the film!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Nerve. The film is gripping throughout, the characters are all believable and relate-able, and most importantly Nerve highlights the dangers that Social Media can bring. The message is brilliantly dealt with and will leave you thinking about how much you put up online yourself. I really liked this film, possibly because I wasn’t expecting to, but also because any film that gives us a good five minutes of a semi-naked Dave Franco is great in my eyes…! Seriously though, it’s absolutely worth a watch and should definitely have received more promotion as I feel it will get overlooked even though it’s a very well made film.