“Are you a player or are you a watcher?”, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost‘s cautionary tale of the dangers of social media, the dark side of the web, Nerve (2016), takes truth or dare into the 21st century.
The world wide web (WWW) is a wonderful tool, the educational purpose is extraordinary, making the world an even smaller place. The communication possibilities let people from the four corners of the world come together without even leaving the comfort of your own home. However behind every little piece of goodness sadly comes nastiness and this is when Nerve becomes relevant.
The internet certainly entertains but like many things we can become obsessed even paranoid, addicted to those devices. The sinister side, the anonymity, voyeurism encourages group mentality peer pressure onto individuals with sometimes horrible outcomes.
Nerve highlights those dangers, powers of persuasion through monetary incentives. When the nastiness, the bullying kicks off those guilty of dishing out can hide the screen of their laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
The movie stars Emma Roberts (Scream Queens) as Vee a timid high school student who keeps herself to herself, a few friends. Vee is like the ‘wallflower’ and constantly goaded by those friends, she decides to sign up to become a ‘player’ on the new popular online game of Nerve.
Becoming that player Vee hopes it will ease the pressure on those friends. Her first challenge she must go to cafe diner and kiss a stranger, Ian (Dave Franco, Now You See Me) becomes the lucky victim.Once she completes the challenge she is assigned a new one and quickly gets caught in the thrill of the game when she must complete them with Ian.
Quickly the pair’s popularity amongst the watchers’ increases challenge by challenge, so does their prize money and stakes.Things take a sinister turn as the danger of each challenge increases as the pair get closer to the finale as the dark side of the game starts to surface. Does Vee have the ‘Nerve‘ to complete?
Despite its flaws Nerve actually does deliver what it says on the tin, highlight those dangers in social media and the internet in general. anonymity seems to be a big thing with the ‘abusers’, power hungry and likes to hide behind their phones, making also online, chat rooms a dark dangerous place to be.
These places are even more dangerous when you’re vulnerable opened to manipulation, peer pressure which Vee is. We learn this when becomes more reclusive, about to reject a place at university, from the photos we see in the opening credits. They were happier times and with her brother but what happened to him? These are all telltale signs of an emotionally fragile person.
Robert and Franco make a likable couple, their chemistry gives a sense of realism making you feel engaged. Even if you’re not from the same age group you still get a connection as we’ve all had or still have a mobile phone today. Some of us get obsessed with the likes of Candy Crush or Pokemon Go, in some cases, we can’t live without playing these games.
Nerve might not be David Fincher‘s The Game but it’s enough caution to open our eyes to the dangers that lurk in the shadows of the online world.
★★★1/2| Paul Devine
Crime, Thriller | USA, 2015 | 15 | 5th December 2016 (UK) | LionsGate Home Entertainment | Dir.Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman |Emma Roberts, Dave Franco,Juliette Lewis, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer |Buy:[Blu-ray]