Venus “Vee” Delmonico, a studious and cautious graduating high school senior decides to take a ride on the wild side by playing a hot new online game called Nerve. During her first round in the game, she finds herself quickly partnered with a stranger and fellow Nerve player, Ian. The two teens team together to complete the increasingly dangerous and intense dares while managing to rack up tons of cash. Soon, the tasks take a turn for the worst as the “Watchers” begin to orchestrate a potentially life altering final round for the two “Players.”
Nerve is a fast paced wild ride that has the viewer clinging to the edge of their seat from nearly the beginning. There is no doubt in my mind that this movie will do well amongst the teens that make their way into the air conditioned theaters to get out of the heat while they kill time this summer. The soundtrack is good and has many different hip hop and EDM stylized music that is “in” this year. The film is stacked with hot actors from Netflix’s Original – Orange is the New Black and the two main characters Emma Roberts and Dave Franco have obvious on screen chemistry. There is a lot that this movie has going for it, but with Nerve you certainly have to take the good with the bad.
The acting is subpar at best to say the least. I love Juliette Lewis, but her portrayal of a completely clueless mother is outright laughable. For the entire film she’s wandering around checking her phone as she receives bank updates and ends up calling her daughter’s best friend to get information, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds. The catty behavior between Vee and her other best friend Sydney (played by Emily Meade) is extremely over acted on both sides. In addition to the poor acting, the painfully predictable plot line is almost too much to handle.
The story’s idea is interesting by how the screenwriter, Jessica Sharzer, adapted a young adult novel written by Jeanne Ryan for this summer teen flick. Did you know this was a novel? Neither did I. What is most interesting about the semi-original story-line is how the film addresses the reality of how truly ingrained technology is in our everyday lives to the point that we as a society really do not know nor understand how much personal information is out there on the internet for anyone to find and use against us.
The film has boundless potential with the future-is-now vibe and intriguing story, which is well paced but after 2/3 of the way through it loses steam and falls off kilter. The final act of the movie veers far off course and the viewers are standing on the side wondering how we even got to this point in the first place. The subtle undertone of the internet actually being dangerous and anonymity isn’t always the best for society gets pushed the forefront and comes across rather preachy. Then the comically unrealistic hacking to save mankind scene makes anyone that knows even the slightest bit of computer coding shake their head because it’s boringly cliché.
Nerve will certainly make its money back and maybe even gross a little in the box office as parent’s bring their little ones to Finding Dory and the older siblings can escape their parental clutches to hang out with friends and text while in this movie. I certainly hope that the teenagers this film is geared towards will think twice about their desire to start up a crowd funding campaign to build Nerve in real life, because of the realistic dangers it brings. If you are over the age of, let’s say 20 years old, skip this film and rent it on Redbox this fall when all the kiddies are back in school and you can watch it in the comfort of your own home without their bright screened phones lighting up the room.
Nerve is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity-all involving teens and has a 96-minute runtime.