If you’re heading to the theater this weekend, I highly recommend watching “Nerve.” Based on the young adult thriller by author Jeanne Ryan, co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Paranormal Activity,” “Catfish”) bring “Nerve” to life. There’s no Hunger Games, or dystopian setting, but with the ever evolving world of social media consuming not only teen but adult lives, it mimics a reality that hits close to home.
I went into this film not knowing much and thought this film would be another young adult book-to-film adaptation and be more teen-y bopper than thriller (I see you “The Fifth Wave”). I love a great young adult film, but they can be hit or miss. The premise was interesting enough, especially since I saw the film one day after Pokémon Go hit the scene. Talk about perfect timing!
Emma Roberts plays Vee, a high school senior tired of living life on the sidelines. Pressured by her friends, Vee decides to join Nerve, a popular online game that challenges players to accept a series of dares. Her first dare is where she encounters Ian (Dave Franco). It’s not long before the adrenaline-fueled competition requires them to perform increasingly dangerous stunts. When Nerve begins to take a sinister turn, Vee finds herself in a high-stakes finale that will ultimately determine her entire future.
The first few minutes blew me away. Vee gets on her computer, opens Facebook, emails, video-chats with her best friend, etc. Directors Joost and Schulman employed eye-catching graphics to convey a digital world. Since the premise of this film relies heavily on an app and social media, the fact that this was new and fresh, really plays to their advantage to keep the audience invested.
Vee’s friend Sydney (Emily Meade) is a “Player” on Nerve and is willing to bare all to the “Watchers” to get to the Top 10. Keep in mind: to get the cash, “Watchers” have to film you doing the dare and the “Player” has to film themselves completing the dare for it to count and earn the moola and points!
When Vee is humiliated by a crush who is not interested in her, she decides to become a Player to the surprise of her friend Tommy (Miles Heizer), who is also totally crushing on her. Side note: Nerve grabs your information from the internet to come up with dares–not too far fetched–huh? Her first dare is to kiss a stranger, who happens to be another “Player,” Ian.
This was Franco’s first leading and non-comedic role. Franco mentioned in our interview that he was weary of whether people were going to accept him in a serious role like this and I’d say yes! He pulled off the mysterious Ian very well throughout the film. I never knew whether his character was good or bad. Also, watch out for a rival performance to Heath Ledger’s “10 Things I Hate About You” singing montage!
Like “The Neon Demon,” music is pivotal in this film, and the soundtrack propels each scene and makes it even better. It’s going to be an instant classic. New York is also a character within itself, because even though we’ve seen films set here, it almost feels as if we’re discovering a whole new side to the city.
I can’t emphasize enough that this film felt like a glimpse into the future. Nerve may not be real, but it could pop up in the near future and this film does a good job at showing the consequences of what people are willing to do to get likes and views. What are you willing to sacrifice? Friendships? Dignity? Self-respect?
How many of us can say we haven’t already done that to get some more likes on Instagram or Facebook? If you were to add money to that, I doubt people would think twice about being a “Player.”
This film is for everyone who has a smartphone and at least one social media presence. It’s a great modern thriller that can’t help but make you think about the future of where social media will go. It’s a fun ride, so go watch “Nerve” out in theaters now! And don’t forget to read Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview with Dave Franco!
Tweet us your comments about the film and whether you’d be a Watcher or a Player @ShuffleOnline!
Catherine grew up watching action flicks at a very young age which led to her love of film. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Radio-TV-Film in 2012. Always the adventurer, Catherine traveled and lived in Sydney, Australia for a year where she took a selfie with Brad Pitt. She runs Shuffle with passion, lots of caffeine and tacos. When she’s not editing or writing you can find her crafting and planning her next adventure.