If there was ever a time for Nerve to come out, right in the middle of popular mobile game, Pokemon Go is as good as any. For the most part, the film gets a lot right. It’s visually impressive with a unique neon-fused colour palette and its story, for the most part, is realistic. By the final third, Nerve loses any of its build with a lacklustre climax that breaks the immersion it worked so hard to achieve for the most past.
The story follows high school senior Vee (Emma Roberts), as a new online game of truth and dare goes viral. The rules are simple – you’re told to do something and are offered money to do it, all the while filming from your mobile to make sure the action is recorded. Despite the outrageously high money figures (£150 for kissing a stranger?!) it all feels very grounded and realistic. All is not what it seems though and soon Vee comes to realize that her every move is being manipulated by a group called “The Watchers” and the game turns into dare or die.
Its not the best thriller released this year but props to Nerve for its originality and in particular, releasing at the best possible time during a mobile game craze. The visual design of this film is second to none as well. The landscapes look incredible and while the game is being played, there are several instances where we get a breathtaking view of the New York skyline with a coloured flag for all the different players and their “tag” (nickname in the game). There are other visual originalities but I thought Nerve nailed its aesthetic. It’s a very pretty film that unfortunately turns ugly in its finale.
There are some nonsensical plot twists here though that’ can’t be overlooked and Nerve loses is grip on its continuity and story by the finale. Its not only messy and ill conceived, it breaks any sort of realistic immersion the film worked so hard to achieve in the first part of the film. I won’t spoil anything obviously but up until the ending, Nerve was a solid thriller, built on pretty decent acting from Vee and passable acting from the rest of the cast. Its story and quick-pace makes it easy to overlook the archetypal characters that inhabit the world but as the pace slows slightly to let the characters take centre stage in the final, Nerve rears its ugly head.
Overall, Nerve is a solid thriller that despite its wobble, is still a good watch. Its tense, believable and more importantly, original. Its unique visual design and originality are the best parts of this film and I would absolutely recommend it based on these two things in particular. Its a shame, the film loses its Nerve and blows what could have been a very good thriller with a disappointing finale.