Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Written by Jessica Sharzer
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis, Emily Mende, Miles Heizer and Colson Baker
While watching “Nerve,” I was nervous – pun not intended – not necessarily by the movie I was watching, but by my gut feeling that something the like the film’s eponymous game can exist. The mentality behind something like that has already been seen on the web and social media. Granted nothing has yet been done to the extent of the game depicted in “Nerve.” Although between the ice bucket challenge, “Pokemon Go,” the cinnamon challenge or anything else that spread across the internet like wildfire, all of those are an analogous to “Nerve” because of the level of interaction all of these have had behind them.
“Nerve” does not anything new to say about social media, the internet, reality tv shows or how our society is influenced by those factors. It does, however, have something timely to say considering how social media is rapidly growing into a valuable social tool. Look at the various advertising campaigns and political movements and causes are now defined by hashtags. Even news stories mention or are about people’s responses to a certain event via Twitter or Facebook.
The movie itself is surprisingly tense and enjoyable, although it does not get going until halfway through the second act, and it does not get good until the third act. When Dave Franco drops the “this thing is bigger than you know” cliché, I was sold on the movie and the premise, and wanted to know what he meant. The movie that leads to that moment was flaccid and frankly, a dull movie about kids and their cellular telephones.
What the movie lacked was a greater exploration of the mob mentality theme that occurred during the climax of the movie. Mob mentality subtly rears its head throughout “Nerve,” but during the climax, it is clear that mob mentality is an important theme in the narrative of the film. I believe that mob mentality is the primary thematic element that the movie wanted to explore, but it is too subtle implanted throughout the film to be the central theme, while simultaneously being touched on with a frequency that it is impossible not to see it as a theme central to the narrative.
As long as social media is a powerful tool “Nerve” will hold some merit. Despite the fact that it does not give an original or new viewpoint on its subject matter.