Dave Franco and Emma Roberts share a special moment in "Nerve".
Emma Roberts plays a teenager named Venus a.k.a. Vee, a wallflower at her high school who is finally convinced by her free-spirited best friend to play a popular augmented reality online game called Nerve.
The game, which can be played on mobile phones, is described as "truth and dare" without the truth, and it gives out attractive monetary rewards as the stakes for the dares get higher. Participants are divided into "watchers", those who watch and dictate the game being played by other people on their devices, and "players", those who are actually taking on the dares. As Vee finally takes on the challenge of being a player, she ends up meeting another fellow participant named Ian (Dave Franco), and they are paired together by the "watchers" for the rest of the game.
While the movie might start out as a high school romance, it slowly shifts into techno-thriller territory when both Vee and Ian find that the dares are getting more and more dangerous and the only way out is to complete them all or risk their lives.
The premise and trailer for the movie certainly seems great, but if you doubt your nerves and need more reasons to watch it, then read on below!
Revisit the crime techno-thriller genre
The crime techno-thriller genre has not really been explored as much as your typical, action, romance and horror genres, as there is a fine line for this tricky genre to either deliver a hit or miss. (Remember Michael Mann's mediocre "Blackhat"?) By featuring a young cast and their dependency on social media, "Nerve" has done right as a breath of fresh air that exudes a combination of all the interesting techno-thriller elements we loved in "The Game" (1997), "Gamer" (2009) and "Eagle Eye" (2008). The movie explores how teenagers willingly jump into a new social media craze, in this case a 24-hour P2P game which forces them to comply with its rules.
Critics compare it to Pokémon Go
This movie couldn't have picked a better time for release. Since the world is now at the height of the Pokémon Go fever, "Nerve" has been often compared to it thanks to its similar augmented reality aspects. In order to participate, both Pokémon Go and Nerve asks participants to forgo their personal privacy which includes giving out their emails and social media profiles which are all willingly surrendered by people today as it records their location mapping. This movie is a wakeup call exploring what could be the possible consequences when privacy is stolen and one is pushed to the extremes to get it back.
The pairing of Emma Roberts and Dave Franco
The pairing of 25-year-old Emma Roberts and 31-year-old Dave Franco is a joy to watch. They certainly have undeniable chemistry and romances in techno-thrillers are rarely explored well. Playing Venus, at the beginning Roberts' character is written as a timid and boring teenager, but she soon gets to break out of her shell by participating in the game, and it also helps that she picks up Dave Franco's charming Ian, who is also a fellow Nerve player and helps her to complete the dares. We think Roberts' acting chops from "Scream Queens" and Franco's "Now You See Me" might just come in handy in "Nerve".
"American Horror Story" writer
In order to have "Nerve" be an effective techno-thriller, the scare factor needs to be present. What better way to inject that into the story than having writer and producer, Jessica Sharzer of TV's "American Horror Story" penning the screenplay for the film? Of course it helps too when one of your stars, Emma Roberts, has also starred in your series, "American Horror Story: Coven".
Social media pop-ups inserted into movie
"Nerve" has very smartly injected pop ups of conversations, screenshots of the game progression and social media related elements like graphic maps of New York on the screen. This communications familiarity which we are accustomed to everyday not only elevates the urgency and pacing of the story, but also allows for audiences to be fully immersed and somewhat invested in the dares Vee and Ian have to complete.
Cinema Online, 08 August 2016