Nerve is a 2016 thriller, crime, and adventure film based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Jeanne Ryan. It revolves around an online game in which people can sign up to be “players” or “watchers”, the former are given dares to do by the latter and as the movie goes on the dares become more intense.
The movie is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, produced by Allison Shearmur, and the screenplay is by Jessica Sharzer. It stars Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis, and others. More information can be found here.
This movie was a huge surprise! I remember seeing the trailer and being interested and wanting to see it, but I never expected it to be as good as it actually is. I would honestly re-watch it again, and I would definitely say it’s one of my favourite movies of the year, maybe even of all time.
The main character Vee (played by Emma Roberts) is very likeable. I’ve seen a lot of people complain that all Emma Roberts seems to play is the “bitchy” character, but that isn’t the case here. She does have her moments, but overall she’s nothing like that. She’s played very well and I found myself genuinely caring about what happens to her. The other characters are also incredibly interesting. Dave Franco’s character Ian seems to have more knowledge on the Nerve game, and his personality is slightly different to Vee’s, so when they’re paired up it creates this interesting dynamic that’s portrayed very well.
You have Juliette Lewis playing Vee’s mum, which I was surprised about, I had no idea she was in it! So it was a pleasant surprise to see her. There’s also Vee’s two main/best friends, Sydney (played by Emily Meade) and Tommy (played by Miles Heizer). The former seems to take on the role of “bitchy” character, but you still end up being as invested in her and caring about what happens to her. Tommy helps to bring in the more techy side of the Nerve game, giving a more legitimate background as opposed to just shoehorning in it.
There are plenty of other characters throughout and there are bound to be a ton of stars that you’ll recognise. Each character is different and just as interesting as each other.
Overall the movie has a good concept and I’d say it’s executed pretty well. The movie is predictable in places, but it never seems like they were trying to avoid it and failed. Any of the predictability felt like it came right before the event happened, or it was just confirming what you might suspect to happen in a movie like this. It could have easily become a horror movie, but they did manage to avoid that. There was supposedly going to be a dare that was quite sexual but it came across as too dark and creepy, they took it out to make sure the movie could be watched by younger viewers, also I feel like it could have pushed it more towards horror if they had kept it in. With this kind of concept it could easily fit into that genre, but it worked so well more as a thriller/crime movie.
The movie progressed pretty well. It’s only around an hour and a half, and I never felt like things moved too quickly or too slowly. It seemed to use the time it had fairly well. Having not read the book, I can’t comment on how good of an adaption it is, and I had no idea how the events might play out. I was very impressed with how it did play out on screen, and I was very pleased with the ending! It partially went how I thought it would, but then there were bits I never considered that made the ending even better.
The overall aesthetic of the movie is just beautiful. There’s a lot of dark backgrounds and neon lights. And even when there’s not the movie is just very bright and/or colourful considering how dark the movie’s plot becomes. It’s just genuinely nice to look at, and the movie is just fun to watch so I would honestly recommend everyone to see it at least once.
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and as I said before, I would watch it again. It was everything I could want in a movie, and any problems I found with it were either resolved quickly or they just didn’t bug me enough to criticise the movie or vent about it. If I were to be really critical I would say this movie deserves anywhere between 4 and 5 stars (out of 5).
Personally, my rating was: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★