Stars: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Mead, Juliette Lewis, Kimiko Glenn, Miles Heizer, Samira Wiley, Machine Gun Kelly.
Director: Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost.
Screenplay: Jessica Sharzer
I think going into this movie not knowing what the heck it is about makes this film tons of entertaining fun. The film is set around an 24 hour app Nerve that asks you to be a watcher or a player. The watchers dare the players to challenges for money and it is up to the player to accept or bail. The aim of the game is to reach the final two within the 24 hours, to get there you need the most viewers on your channel. Now is that not just a freaking enticing plot for a movie? And best of all Nerve actually delievers on its premise; it takes the viral hype of new apps to a higher level that doesn't ever feel that extreme; like if this game was actually real I think it may be quite similar to what happens here.
Vee (Emma Roberts) is a regular yet shy high school senior where she is having to make the tough decision of whether leaving home for college while her best friend Sydney (Emily Mead) is trying to get her to become a watcher to follow her channel on Nerve, and her best guy friend, Tommy (Miles Heizer) who of course if annoyingly in love with her gets pissy on the sidelines when she chooses to join as a player instead of her suggested title of watcher—as she has basically been her entire high school career.
Her first dare from the watchers is to go to a certain diner and kiss as stranger for $100. She does the dare only to realise that the guy she kissed, Ian (Dave Franco), is also a player and they are both dared to play with each other for the rest of the night. The rest of the film goes as you expect; the dares get more crazy as the pot gets larger and Vee and Ian make their way up the Nerve rankings ladder.
There is something about the pacing of this film that is so enjoyable. I didn't really want it to stop, it's kind of intoxicating to watch these guys pushing past their limits to complete their dares. Basically this film makes you one of the watchers but to a limited extent, because what is interesting is to see just how influential the watchers are within the framework of the film.
This film is not subtle in its messages of what hype and the crowd mentality can do to people, but it is still an interesting topic. In general we as humans can quickly lose our morality when we think we are playing in an anonymous field of law; we can lose our own opinions when the crowd is encouraging a certain way to think and behave. It is not subtle, the final act is rushed and pretty much has too many coincidences to make actual sense. But I don't care because this film is fun, it sums up a lot of the app culture at the moment—this was made way before Pokemon Go but this is eerily familiar.
So just go in knowing that you will enjoy the crazy that this film promises.