Nerve (2016) Movie Review

This movie just came out Wednesday, I have been so excited to see it since I saw the trailer in Now You See Me 2 and I have to say it didn’t disappoint me. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a fun ride and while it was great, and enjoyable, it definitely had it’s problems. This is a short review but if you like fun movies, I do recommend seeing this one for the thrill alone.
(I don’t own this trailer)
Summary: Vee is tired of living life without taking chances, after being pressured by her friends, she decides to join the game of Nerve. A truth or dare game without the the truth, the player is challenged to accept a series of dares for cash. She meets a stranger Ian, in which the watchers pair them together to complete dares and Vee quickly sees the game can turn dangerous. She is involved, now the question is, does she have the Nerve to stop?
Pros:
  • The Main Cast.
    • Emma Roberts. I like her a lot, it’s funny though how she can still pass for a high schooler to an extent. Her character Venus “Vee” is shy, reserved and doesn’t really speak up for herself. After her best friend embarrasses her in front of her crush and tells her she never takes chances, she decides that she doesn’t want to be a watcher in her life anymore and joins Nerve as a player. We practically see the film through her eyes and Roberts does a good job, at showing the thrill of being a player in this game. At the same time, she also does a good job at being annoying when you need her to be smart, she has a nice little arc.
    • Dave Franco. First of all, I love him, and his character for a long time is a mystery. He’s her first dare and the watchers decide to pair them up for the rest of the night. He’s interesting and mysterious enough that as a watcher, you want to know his story and why he’s playing. It can’t just be about the money… he doesn’t really change by the end of the film.
  • Actor’s Chemistry. Franco and Roberts have some great chemistry together, any time they were in screen together, you just want to root for them. They had a lot of great moments together where they were just talking tenderly, where they were flirting, or even the moments where they just decided to make out (lol) but they were great together.
  • The Thrill of being a watcher. This is the type of movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s not scary, nor is it nail biting but it’s fun enough that you are invested as the ride continues, as you want our main heroes to complete their dares to the point where you want to play too. It definitely glamorizes the game in a way that makes you wonder if you would play it yourself and how far would you be willing to go.
  • The style. Being that this film is about a game that is completely online, using phones and people watching from their laptops, tablets etc, it often stylizes those things. We see Vee and Ian complete dares through phones, or see them riding his motorcycle with their identifying user names (you’ll know what I mean when you watch), we watch with their friends as they watch them. Or even the way they look at their screens, it’s like we’re looking at them from inside their screen. It was all very cool. Not to mention, the little touches of face timing friends and the camera distorting. Very nice attention to detail.
  • The Music. I think music is always very important to a film and in this one, it’s not necessarily one I would buy just to listen to the soundtrack like in other films, but it fits the movie to the point where the entire experience is pleasant and thrilling. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy and it flows with the characters.
  • The ending. After the finale, which I talk about a bit in the end, I liked how it ended on a positive and high note. But you must watch the film to see if our players survived the night.
Cons:
  • The Rules of the Game. Now, with things like this, it’s just like “an experience” where as you watch, things happen and you understand it a bit more in order to enjoy it. However, while certain parts of the game was explained, there were a few things that weren’t. When you get a dare, you either “accept” or “reject” but it never explains what happens if you “reject” the dare. It explains what happens if you accept but fail to complete or bail but never if you decide to just not do the dare. Do you get another dare? Or is that it for you? It’d be helpful if rules were explained better.
  • The origins of the game. I guess in a way it doesn’t matter but there are too many questions that I just can’t accept that they were unanswered. Who came up with the game? Who is the person(s)? Are they wealthy? How are the players paid? They get $100 for completing their first dare and the money increases as they continue to play but who gives them the money? Is the watchers as they have to pay in order to watch for 24 hours? If so, how many people watch and how many play? When they accept to play, the game has everything about them thanks to them logging in to play so how does that happen? Soooo many questions, it irritated me.
  • High school students. We don’t know how old Dave Franco’s character is but they’re in high school?? Throughout the film, I would constantly forget Vee is in high school. I think it would have been different if they were college students. They would try to push high school problems but meh, but it was still strange.
  • The payoff/Message. The movie attempts to have a message, not sure if the book handles it differently but it kind of fails at trying to convey the message. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the film moves so fast due to the nature but when things start to take a dark turn, it tries to push a message but it falls flat. It’s there but it’s kind of… over the top… lame? lol I get it but meh.
  • Unrealistic. Not really a con and not really something that is damaging but it’s not a pro but it’s more along the lines it never takes it that extra step with the dares. If this game existed in real life, the dares would quickly become lewd and they never do so the movie fails to take it that extra step which if it’s based off a YA book, I can see why it doesn’t but I think the stakes could have been high and more intense if it did take a slightly different turn before it gets to the finale.
Overall, I really like Nerve, I appreciate the originality of it in a sea of sequels, reboots, remakes, continuations and I appreciate how it shows the world of technology and social media as it pertains to young people today. I enjoyed the two main leads, their chemistry with each other was cute and fun and they played well off each other. The style was different in how we as the audience could be a part of the ride and the music helps set the tone of the film. However, it does fail to answer certain questions about the game of Nerve itself, even if it’s not important, it leaves me with too many questions that I wanted answered in order to understand the game… but in a way, that’s the point because people today get involved with things on the internet and social media without fully knowing or understanding the rules or the limitations but even with that idea, the film fails to really hit that nail at the end. With all of the fun and fast paced thrill in the beginning, it comes to a sudden stop that could cause the viewer to wonder why it ended like that, especially with the help of an ex machina and it can be really over the top and cheesy.
I really liked it though and I’m itching to read the book now because maybe things were different. Not sure if it’s a Young Adult book, but I’m pretty sure it is.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
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