Review: Nerve (2016)

2.5 stars

Fast-paced, charming, and a bit predictable, Nerve offers viewers an entertaining, although forgettable, movie with flashy cinematography and editing.

Dave Franco and Emma Roberts star in this teenage-aimed, high-paced internet parable. The characters are cliché, but not unbearably so. Franco plays the mysterious bad boy, while Roberts plays the good girl—and everyone knows they’ll end up together from the first time they meet. Regardless, the actors had great chemistry and the audience was rooting for them to be together all the same.

The plot itself is a little too extreme to believe completely, but the commentary is relevant (although it’s obvious). Teenagers around the country begin to play a game called Nerve. They must choose if they want to be a “watcher” or a “player”. Watchers pay money to see the player act out ridiculous dares. Clearly, it escalates out of control and is highly dangerous to those involved. The entire premise is based around the cultural obsession of being on phones, and the ways in which the internet desensitizes us to violence. It’s easy to hide behind a screen, blah, blah, blah.

Nerve has a consistent tone of suspense throughout it, and many people in the theater were literally on the edge of their seat. I found myself biting my nails a few times, even though I acknowledged that much of the risk-taking was bound to end in a predictable way (and it did). The ending is wrapped up all too easily, but the film had its moments of thrilling suspense that didn’t feel too cliché and offered a few real scares.

The glowing, colorful lights of New York City provided the needed neon backdrop for such a technologically centered film, meshing with the synthesized pop songs playing in the background. The glitzy lighting makes it feel almost like a music video, highlighting the focus on pop culture and social media. The editing was well-matched with the modern, atmospheric shots, taking us inside of the character’s phones and into the world of social media. In the scenes meant to be riddled with tension, the editing is perfectly paced, letting moments linger just a little longer to cause viewers to feel uneasy, or snapping different shots together quickly to make them feel overwhelmed.

The entire movie was obviously meant to be relatable to teenagers, and it does that very well. My little sister is 17 and she adored the film. I enjoyed it, although it was a bit too cheesy for my taste. Going in I wasn’t too excited, but I came out liking it more than originally expected. The film isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s a fun and fast-paced movie to watch.

There are worse films to watch on movie night.

-B

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One comment

  1. Caz · August 28

    Good review. I found myself enjoying this film a lot more than I expected to, thought it was interesting with how obsessed everyone is with social media and posting silly things (at times) online instantly!

    Like

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