Twisted thriller with topical commentary on internet fame. Nerve is about an online community of watchers and players involved in public dares. Emma Roberts is a high school yearbook photographer, a bit of a goody two shoes, who because of that kind of guilelessness is perhaps why she gathers a quick following. Once compelled to join, first she has to kiss a random guy at a diner, with Dave Franco as the guy who happens to be another gamer. Later, she has to put on a thousand dollar dress in a department store. Instantaneous fame and money is a driving force so that when the dares fall into danger territory that could scar or kill her she’s so high on the money and thrills that she cannot so easily pass up on it. Because it’s opportunity to keep going!
This near future scenario, which is like “The Game,” “The Hunger Games” and “Fear Factor” all mashed up in a blender, keeps arousing you to want to see more with the wonder, How depraved can it get? “Nerve” is thoroughly entertaining in its debauched satire of online communities and the peanut-brained fans who desire to see players hurt themselves for a vicarious thrill. The performances are also electric, Roberts and Franco share a constant buzz together as teens in over their heads. But I wish it hadn’t become so plot-heavy with its it-all-must-come-to-an-end arc. Because the film was really onto something when it was pushing its idea of recklessness in the pursuit of fame. This film could have been more.
96 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
SCIENCE-FICTION / THINKING TEENS / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY