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Categories: Movie Reviews

This fun, absurd, adventure may be a little more thought-provoking than you expected, argues Neill McNamara.


I went into Nerve expecting not much more than a straightforward thriller film. I was therefore quite pleasantly surprised at the mix of absurd, adrenaline-infused action and the exploration of quite current themes such as mob mentality and the abuse of one’s anonymity on the internet. Whilst the final few scenes of the film took the absurdity to a level that made it somewhat difficult to enjoy, overall I came out of this film rather impressed.

The film stars Emma Roberts as lead character Venus Delmonico, or ‘Vee’, who is your stereotypical American high-school student. She lives in the shadow of her friend Sydney (Emily Meade), who’s outgoing personality directly mirrors Vee’s shy, quiet demeanour. Vee finds the chance to break out of her shell when she discovers Nerve, an online social game which allows people to choose to be either a ‘watcher’ or a ‘player. Watchers give players challenges that they must film themselves completing in order to win money and boost themselves to a higher point on the games leader board. The challenges get more insane and risky as they go along, but the cash prize raises higher and higher as an incentive. Vee quickly teams up with a mysterious man named Ian (Dave Franco), as per request of the watchers. It soon becomes apparent that the game isn’t what it seems, and the malicious nature of the anonymous watchers puts the lives of the main characters at risk.


The thing that I think back to when I think of this film is the way it comments on certain themes that affect society today. The anonymous nature of the internet allows everyone to do and say whatever they want, as they can keep their identities secret and therefore don’t need to fear repercussions for their actions.  Whilst the first hour or so of this films tackles this issue, along with the issue of mob mentality, in a believable and realistic fashion, the final 20-or-so minutes of the film brings these individuals out into the open, and they keep their anonymity by using masks. This final act of the film feels more like The Purge than Nerve, and the very unrealistic nature of it took away from the overall themes of the film, and the strange hacking group introduced in the final act felt very out-of-place, and seemed to be there simply as a McGuffin to move the story along to its conclusion.

In the end, Nerve is an enjoyable romp through the world of social media and internet anonymity. Whilst it becomes less and less believable as the film goes on, it’s a fun and interesting take on how the digital world can affect reality, and one that I would heartily recommend to others.

Nerve is out now in cinemas.

Posted on Sep 12, 2016

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