This 2016 American thriller-adventure film, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (written by Jessica Sharzer) is based on a 2012 novel ‘Nerve’ by Jeanne Ryan. This film revolves around a secret online game of ‘truth or dare, without the truth’ which allows people to enlist as ‘players’ or ‘watchers’ as the game escalates. Performing a dare and filming it on your profile in the game allows you to receive cash – the riskier the dare, the more cash you receive.
The game collects personal data and explains three rules:
- All dares must be recorded on the player’s phone
- Earned money will be revoked in a player bails on or fails the dare
- A player must not report the game to law enforcement ‘or else’
This film stars Emma Roberts as the main protagonist and player of Nerve (Venus “Vee” Delmonico), Dave Franco as Vee’s partner, fellow player, and lover in Nerve (Ian/Sam), Machine Gun Kelly (Ty) a fellow player and Ian’s old friend, Miles Hiezer (Tommy) one of Vee’s friends who has a crush on her and is a hacker, Emily Meade (Sydney) one of Vee’s friends, as well as Kimiko Glenn (Liv) another one of her friends.
After Vee’s friend Sydney humiliates her in front of her crush, Vee signs up for Nerve and meets Ian and competes with him because of her ‘watchers’ liking them together. Throughout the film, they do dares together, including getting tattoos and driving blindfolded, but are competing against Ty in the Top 10 Leaderboards – everyone wants to be number 1 and the top 2 go to The Finals.
Consequences rain upon Vee when she tries to tell the police about Nerve, and her earnings, as well as her mother’s account are drained.
During The Finals, which takes place in an abandoned stadium, Vee and Ian are against each other and are both given guns. The dare is ‘Shoot your opponent’. Ian offers to throw the competition, but Ty steps up to take Ian’s place. Vee criticizes the watchers and tells them that they are all cowards and they should have ‘nerve’ to show their masked faces. A vote is cast and Ty is forced to shoot Vee.
Meanwhile, Tommy and his hackers decrypt the watcher’s codenames who voted to shoot Vee and sends them a message through the Nerve system saying ‘You are an accessory to murder’ and all watchers are logged out, shutting down Nerve’s system.
Vee is revealed to be unharmed and that she and Ty staged her murder to shut down the servers. All money is restored to her mother’s account and everyone’s identities are restored. Ian reveals that his real name is Sam and the pair become a couple.
I think this movie packs a very important message about internet safety and that with improper use, it can conquer your life in more than one way. I liked it partially as well because I love and respect both Dave and Emma as actors as well as the directors (Henry and Ariel) and this was definitely and must-see for me.
Nerve earns a 4/5 from me and is available on DVD to purchase.