Nerve |2016 | Dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman | 1 hour 36 minutes | Lionsgate
Ever think teenagers have stupid ideas? Enter Nerve, the new social app where people dare each other to kill themselves.
Thankfully, I’m only talking about a movie. But Nerve asks an important question: How fucked up are we, really?
Emma Roberts plays high school senior Vee. Vee fears living life to its fullest because of her brother’s untimely death. Vee’s BFF Sydney goads Vee into taking more chances. Vee downloads Nerve, registers as a Player and unwittingly places her life in the hands of the Watchers.
Think the Watchers represent an evil government organization or mysterious overlord? Nope. The Watchers make up all the average people paying to watch the game. Watchers choose dares, front money and ultimately control the Players. Anyone can Watch, but everyone hides behind their screen name.
I haven’t seen such an original movie in a while. The movie’s innovative use of graphics, POV and technology make an extremely immersive experience. Oftentimes, the camera takes the POV of a player’s phone, giving us a view we know well. The opening scene shows Vee logging onto her computer using clicks and keystrokes most of us use every day. Some shots make it seem like the computer looks at the user. Creepy. Nerve hits a nerve.
Nerve gets as thrilling as the daredevil stunts the characters brave. People perform can’t- look- away dares like hanging from cranes and lying on train tracks. And since most of the characters don’t know the Players anyway, sometimes the audience feels like we’re part of the experience. My emotions went from excited to euphoric, terrified to disgusted. It’s a trip.
Nerve also features the trendy outfits and pumping pop songs you need for any movie about high schoolers. Who doesn’t love pretty people and synth beats?
Emma Roberts does a great job. She plays the antithesis of her character in Scream 4, which I loved. Nerve has a similar message to Scream 4 but a much more positive ending. The movie’s climax does feel pretty disturbing, though. No spoilers, but it does make one wonder how far some will go behind the mask of cyberspace.
Check out Nerve for a trippy/ terrifying science fiction thriller and decide for yourself: are you a Watcher or a Player?