Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62% (Critics) / 74% (Audience)
Directed By: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Written By: Jessica Sharzer
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade and Samira Wiley
Synopsis: A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.” – (Source)
I liked the cast of this film. Emma Roberts and Dave Franco had good chemistry together as the lead “Players” and the rest of the younger cast took their tropey teen movie characters and gave them a little extra life.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who directed the CATFISH film, imbue NERVE with a kinetic and slick energy as they use interesting camera angles and visual tricks to make the endless staring at mobile device and computer screens not look as dull and lifeless as those things actually are.
The premise is ridiculous and a mountain full of suspension of disbelief is needed to overlook the fact that all of the kids playing this game would have likely either been arrested or died while doing their first dare. Also the nebulous explanation of just how the game was run made no sense. A set-up like the Nerve game would require a centralized admin of some sort. The idea that it was “run by committee” so to speak and not owned by anyone was highly improbable.
Also whoever cut the trailer for NERVE should probably be fired because they gave away almost 99% of the movie in those 2 minutes.
The turn the movie took into After-School special territory as it points out the dangers of The Internet did this film no favors and came across as way too heavy handed for what had been a pretty low stakes movie up to that point.
Final Verdict: A slickly made teen film that manages to get mileage out of its outlandish premise due to engaging performances from its young cast but that ultimately loses its way as it squanders most of its early good will on a truly awful ending.