Vee (short for Venus) lives the life of a normal high school senior, worries of college and boys being her top problems. When her best friend calls her out on never taking any risks, Vee decides to take part in an online game called Nerve. At first it involves silly dares but as the game goes on, the dares turn much more dramatic…
Vee’s not big on dares or taking risks, and she doesn’t understand why her friend Sydney is so fascinated by the annual 24-hour game Nerve, which is like an online version of Truth and Dare — except without the Truth. Players use their phones to record every dare they complete and receive money for them, while constantly watched by thousands and even tens of thousands of people.
Sydney tells Vee she’s too stuck in her comfort zone and tries to help by talking to Vee’s crush for her. When he says Vee’s not his type, Vee storms home in anger. She wants to do something that’s not like her and registers as a Nerve player. Her first dare leads her to a diner where she kisses a stranger, Ian, who happens to be another player. Their watchers like the two together and send them on a joint-dare, and soon Vee finds herself drawn in by the game that seems like a little fun for a lot of money.
The competition for a spot in the Nerve finals is fierce but when the dares get even riskier, is Vee already too drawn in to stop?
This movie, while certainly taking liberties (and being based on a novel), manages to describe our time very well. Smartphones and social media dominate our lives and especially teenagers love to put everything out for everyone to see. As far as current apps go, Periscope hits closest to Nerve as it streams you live to anyone willing to watch you do whatever you want. The dare-aspect of Nerve is most visible on YouTube where dangerous and/or silly stunts gain a ridiculous amount of views.
Every major character in the movie is a fairly typical teenager in their own way. Vee is the quiet, “dull” one while her one best friend, Sydney, is the outgoing party-lover and the other, Tommy, is the compassionate nerd, and Ian fills the mysterious stranger slot. Still, I actually liked every character. They served their purposes and carried the plot nicely. There was one big character let-down that tied heavily to the plot and how it was resolved, but I won’t spoil it for you.
The plot started out a bit slow but once it gathered steam, it flowed well to the end. It wants to send a message which might feel too much like preaching for some but I’d say the movie could give us all something to think about. There are certain “plot-holes” as there usually are with anything related to technology and being online (such as phones never running out of battery), but they didn’t ruin the experience.
I know this movie is categorized as a thriller but it leans quite heavily towards teenage drama. It certainly had moments of suspense but it could’ve been so much better if they’d dared to take the plot a few steps further.
In any case, I’d recommend this to anyone interested in contemporary techno-movies… although paranoid parents should remember to take this movie with a big grain of salt.