Vee (Emma Roberts), is a high school senior who needs a change of pace. She discovers Nerve, an online game like truth or dare, without the truth. While playing she meets Ian (Dave Franco), and they end up playing the game together in order to survive.
What a pleasant surprise this was. I went into Nerve with mild expectations, and came out loving the film. Performances by Franco and Roberts are stellar. They capture that nervousness you’d have while playing this game, and couple it with the adrenaline rush that comes with it. Their romance builds as the film progresses and it was believable. It wasn’t shoehorned in there, it feels very natural.
The supporting cast is solid as well. Emily Meade plays Vee’s best friend Sydney. She’s pretty much the opposite of Vee. More outgoing, and of course more “social”. Meade plays a great typical high school popular girl here. It’d be great to see her in more roles like this off the back of Nerve. I was pleasantly surprised to see Kimiko Glenn and Samira Wiley of Orange is the New Black fame. Gleen plays one of Syd’s friends while Wiley is an underground hacker. Both really crushed it in small roles in the film. Rapper MGK plays Ty, another big time player of Nerve. His role is also small, but towards the end he becomes a menacing presence and pulls it off very well.
Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are behind the camera here. Visually, they knock it out of the park. The city of New York is like a character in the film. Also, they have a firm grasp on today’s technology, and how immersed we are in it. To direct a film like this, that was paramount. The use of the soundtrack in the film fit like a glove with some of the scenes. Sometimes it does feel like a music video, but the selection of songs was spot on.
The story does lack character moments. I can’t really fault the movie for that however. I understand that the directors wanted to give us a little intro into the characters and send us into the world of Nerve. It’s a short hour and thirty six minute flick, so maybe making it two hours while adding some more moments between characters would’ve helped.
Other than that one glaring negative, I loved Nerve. The dares in the film are white knuckle and exciting, while maneuvering throughout NYC. Joost and Schulman get great performances out of their actors while shooting a visually stunning film. Nerve is defiantly a great surprise this summer, and is worth your time.