Written by: Jeanne Ryan (novel), Jessica Sharzer (screenplay)
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade
I’m a sucker for it every time, so I’m going to give this points for originality. The concept of blending both the game “Truth or Dare” with the FaceTime type of software is a really unique idea. The setup of “Players” and “Watcher” is also an interesting perspective on the potential state of social media today. The film doesn’t take long to give you the basic premise and set up the characters.
Among the characters, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are probably the most intriguing. Emma’s character (“Vee”) does a decent job of portraying an introvert, who tests her own limits in front of the online world. Dave Franco’s character (“Ian”) maintains a level of mystery and intrigue throughout the film. The two gel pretty well on screen and their interactions do come off as pretty genuine.
Overall, the suspense of the dares is probably what will stand out the most for this film. Some of the stunts and dares are shot in such a way that you’re own heart rate may go up just a little. A personal favorite of mine was the final twist at the end of the movie. I thought that it was rather ingenious and unpredictable.
There are some parts in this film where the acting just isn’t that good from the supporting cast, and other points where the writing just feels like fillers. It almost felt like watching one of those teen shows on the CW. (Granted some of these were younger actors but the feeling remains the same).
I suppose what was missing was just a bit more development in the characters themselves. The film tried to balance between developing the main characters and focusing on the “Nerve” game itself. Similar to the Purge films, this movie would’ve been better served had it focused on the unique idea of the “Nerve” concept and its impact on society, rather than trying to build up a soon to be forgettable character.
I think that if you’re a millennial, spend at least 3 hours on social media a day, or know how to work a smart phone, then you’ll more than likely enjoy this film. Seeing as though this movie does center around high school to college aged kids, it sort of alienates itself from being enjoyed by an older audience. I personally liked it. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Unfriended”, or if you like teen drama films like Divergent, then you’ll definitely like this as well. Is this a must see? Nope. However, it’s a decent matinee movie or if you want to wait to see at home I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Again, I’m biased when it comes to originality, so i’m giving it an extra little bump for my rating.
*Don’t forget to check out our interview with Dave Franco as we discuss his preparation for the film.