I Dare You: Nerve Review

By Alexis Grimaldo, Staff Writer

Heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, and your breathing is coming out in pants. Your entire body is shaking from both fear and excitement. You try your hardest not to think about what you’re about to do, but your mind keeps coming back to it every five seconds. Crazy runs through your mind, but you tell yourself that this will be fun and that this is what they want. They wouldn’t put you in real danger… would they?

Nerve, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, dares its audience to enter a world of people controlled by an app on their cellphones. Nerve pushes the boundaries of each player making them, quite literally, jump out of their comfort zones. While facing their fears, players earn money for each completed dare, and as great as that might sound, the dares become more life threatening and elaborate as the game continues. If players choose to bail on their dare, all their money is drained away and they are no longer allowed on Nerve. There’s only one rule when playing –don’t snitch!

Now, there are two categories in this questionable online game. First, there are the Players. When a person signs up to play nerve, their online information is gathered and put in a file that helps assign dares to the players. Usually the dares come from fears or what the public wants to see them do. For each dare completed, the player gets a genius amount of money that is transmitted to their bank account. However, if a player fails a challenge or bails on it, all of their money is drained and they can no longer play the game. Players keep Nerve alive by feeding the public’s need for adrenaline and, in this case, unhealthy competition.

Players may be the thing that keeps Nerve alive, but the watchers are what are pulling all the strings in the background. Watchers create the dares. They cheer on their favorites and push them to their breaking points, eliminating the weak from the game. Watchers are everywhere and are encouraged to record the players. A win isn’t a win without an audience of course.

Nerve begins with shy, little Vee (Venus played by Emma Roberts) living in the shadow of her outgoing friend Sydney. Usually she is OK with this, but when Sydney (Emily Meade) unintentionally embarrasses Vee in front of her crush, Vee makes an abrupt decision to sign up for Nerve. Through her journey Vee is pushed from out of the shadows and into the lime light where she learns new things about herself with her new partner in crime, Ian.

Dave Franco was a perfect choice for the character Ian. Sticking to the directors vision of showing things from extreme angles, Franco uses his devilishly handsome smile and charisma to charm Vee into going on the greatest game of dare with him. The character Ian could have easily been the same mysterious and brooding bad boy that you see other movies and books; which isn’t so bad if you prefer your audience doesn’t know whether he’s the good guy or the bad guy. Additionally, Franco is able to portray his character with a twist. Yes, the character is still on the mysterious side, but Franco brings a light and playfulness to him, making him the guy that any girl would want to run around the city with.

Actor Machine Gun Kelly plays the fearless and unrelenting bad boy, Ty, whom was one of Nerve’s favorite players. Throughout the movie, Ty is constantly battling Ian for more watchers and will do anything to get them. Ty is a very strong character that definitely brings an edge to the movie and adds a complexity that no other character would have been able to bring. Machine Gun Kelly was the best actor for this role, especially for the last scene of Nerve where he brought an intensity that he played perfectly.

The dares in Nerve capture real emotions that allow the audience to feel exactly what the characters are feeling whether its fear, embarrassment, or pain. The actors were able to portray these emotions effortlessly and because of this, the audience was able to connect to the characters on a deeper level. The dares were also very realistic in their own unique ways. Of course, kids aren’t going to go out and ride a motorcycle blindfolded; however, all of the dares were relatively realistic and helped the audience feel more involved in the movie .

Picking bright and colorful neon lights for most of the film, like in the diner and tattoo parlor, was a smart choice made by the directors. This draws in the eyes of the audience and makes the scenes feel more magical and carefree. The use of modern day technology in the film was also well thought out.

Nerve has a very raw and modern texture to it due to its unfamiliar soundtrack. The songs work well with the movie, and build the scenes up rather than taking away from them. Also, the directors brought in some real-life online stars such as  @CHLOEWISE_, @THEFATJEWISH, @ARIELLE VANDENBERG, @CASEYNEISTAT, and @ERCIDALESSANDRO . These helped to give the movie an authentic feeling that merges fantasy with reality.

What made Nerve such a popular movie is its ability to be applied to the real world. Nerve could effortlessly be made with our modern day technology, as it is becoming more and more advanced. People drawn to its difficult challenges, fame, and money it provides would participate in the game. There would, no doubt, be many watchers to manipulate its players, which is an alarming thought since not many people would try to stop the game.

Nerve is a very compelling movie that manages to intertwine many genres like action, romance, thriller, and comedy all into one. It captures its audiences’ attention quickly and does not disappoint.

So… “Are you a watcher or a player?”