Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman direct Emma Roberts, Dave Franco and Emily Meade in this teen thriller about an online dare game that turns nasty.
Now this I really liked. An unusually engrossing mixture of The Game and Adventures in Babysitting, Nerve has so much going for it. The aesthetic owes a lot to Danny Boyle; all neon colours, shimmer and inventive angles and POV. The set pieces escalate nicely too; here’s an experience that captures the varying rushes of kissing a stranger, shoplifting and riding blindfolded through midtown traffic by keeping the characters involved equal parts believable, motivated and appealing. Emma Roberts and Emily Meade both stand out with charismatic turns, though like everyone here (much of the cast play adults in Orange is the New Black) they now possibly are all a little too old and established to be playing high school seniors. Only the dismount lets itself down; too neat and too preachy. The conclusion it reaches might work as a powerful point in a YA novel but visualised onscreen it lands flat. The Famous Five hackers, passive mom and baying mob’s eventual reaction all ring false in a way that really grates against the intense fun we had in acts 1 and 2. Still as Bubblegum Thrillers go (Nerve may be the first) there a hella lotta great in the 80 minutes before to outweigh that stumbling exit on the quality scales.