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Opening Date
11 Aug 2016
PG13 Some Mature Content
97 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis
Industrious high school senior, Vee Delmonico [Emma Roberts], has had it with living life on the sidelines. When pressured by friends to join the popular online game Nerve, Vee decides to sign up for just one dare in what seems like harmless fun. But as she finds herself caught up in the thrill of the adrenaline-fueled competition partnered with a mysterious stranger [Dave Franco], the game begins to take a sinister turn with increasingly dangerous acts, leading her into a high stakes finale that will determine her entire future.
By Flora  12 Aug 2016
Thriller ‘Nerve’ couldn’t have picked a better time to premiere than now, with the release of Pokemon Go, that has, like the game in the movie, taken the world by storm. 
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Thriller ‘Nerve’ couldn’t have picked a better time to premiere than now, with the release of Pokemon Go, that has, like the game in the movie, taken the world by storm. 

We’ve seen many movies that talk about technology and how it someone will consume us; control us; and maybe take over the world someday. While Nerve doesn’t drift away too far-fetched into the future like its other Hollywood blockbuster counterparts, it does paint a glimpse into how we can be over-reliant on the device, and the satisfaction one gets from a game. 

Based on the novel by Jeanne Ryan and adapted Jessica Scharzer, Nerve is an online game that is ‘Truth or Dare, but without the Truth; Watchers pay to watch; players get paid to play.” For Venus (Emma Roberts), or better known as Vee, she isn’t quite the daredevil as her best buddy, Sydney (Emily Meade), who is already a rising star in the game for completing dare acts that watches suggest. Taunted by the idea, Vee signs up as a ‘Player’ to the game, slowly rising the ranks by achieving her dare acts. 

Her first act, for $100 is to kiss a random stranger for five seconds and by no coincidence at all, she meets a random handsome guy Ian (Dave Franco), who also happens to be a player, reading her favourite book (says so on her Facebook page) and waiting at a corner for his pretty princess to plant a kiss. Sure, everything on the web is pure coincidental. 

Tempted by the fast cash, the adrenaline rush and the satisfaction of completing these dares, Vee starts to show her daredevil side and soon, becomes famous on the game as one half of the lovebird romance with her stranger-danger partner, Ian. When things get out of hand, she unknowingly becomes a prisoner of the game where she can only end it by being the overall winner with a life-or-death final dare attempt. 

To say that this is a teen thriller (is there even a said genre) is discrediting its risky adventures the movie presents. Its overall visual tone feels a lot like a played-down approach to James DeMonaco’s ‘The Purge’ and Levan Gabriadze ‘Unfriended’, mixed with a little of Mean Girls-esque feel into it. 

While the idea of having ‘technology ruining lives’ as its main overarching theme, what Nerve has above the rest is a rather bold and refreshing take on smartphone apps, and the effects of young people’s relationship towards one another when it comes to anonymity. It’s a pity that directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost focus too much on building up to the ultimate high-stakes ‘battle’ that it loses it focus on developing the characters’ motive. It started out as an exciting ride as you go along with Vee and Ian on their crazy adventures, but when things start to get ugly and deadly, that’s where the pacing starts to drift off, along with the impoverished ‘kill to live’ pursuit. 

Cinematographer Michael Simmonds uses different styles of camera work which works to the film’s favour. With shaky-camera shots and even dizzy bird-eye view angles against skyscrapers, it adds to the tension of one’s dares, leaving audiences at the edge of their seats. Roberts and Franco may be a tad too old to pass off as teenagers, but they do bring a certain charm and attractiveness to the table. 
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