- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
The flash of neon. The absorbing synths. The resounding thump of the bass. Nerve is more than a movie; it is an interactive realm of total absorption. Classifying its audience into two parts, Nerve is either for (a) players or (b) watchers. And let me be the one to tell you first that either audience is in for the ride of their life should they choose to partake in a little “harmless” fun and press that PLAY button. What will YOU do, though? Come on, it’s just a little push.
Directed by Catfish’s Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, Nerve is hands-down the best representation of the internet and its connectivity to be featured on the big screen yet. We’ve seen a lot and far too many of these internet-based flicks have been dismissible rubbish. Nerve is something altogether different, though. While it says very little about the mode, its method is top-notch.
The thriller is both electric and sinister as two unlikely players - Vee (Emma Roberts), a shy senior from Staten Island, and Ian (Doug Franco) whose charm makes her feel at ease – are sent through the city on one hell of a blind date. Their excitement is contagious as they enter into a world of manipulation, whre every single move is a calculated game of one-upmanship.
The Players earn dollars for each completed mission The Watchers send them on. The higher the dollar amount earned, the greater the risk. And in a city this alive at night, there’s no chance in hell that these two are going to ever be out of opportunities. We feel the thrill alongside them and the chemistry between the two leads is indeed exciting.
The film works due to its charged atmosphere. Blame it on the continuous electronic soundtrack, I guess. With artists like BORNS, Sweetmates, Crystal Stilts, and Basenji, it’s hard not to get swept up by this steely tale of truths and dares in a city that never sleeps.
Adrenaline guides this tale. We are The Watchers by default and, yes, just as Vee and Ian get more and more viewers online thanks to their skills, we too are pulled in by the risks and their growing relationship. We see them meet thanks to a mangled copy of The Lighthouse and Roy Orbison. Although it’s not as accidental as it seems, the spark they create is an electric one. We see them kiss. We see them on their date and, as the challenges from the unseen audience keeps piling up, we see them doubt, challenge, and push each other.
And so does Vee’s friends; however, what they see leaves them concerned. They remember her as a shy girl. Hell, that was only this morning. Well, thanks to the events of this night, that girl is G-O-N-E. No one blinks. The cell camera captures it all and, as credibility is pulled out from under everyone’s feet, no one turns away. They just can’t. Co-starring Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, and Juliette Lewis as Vee’s clueless mother watching deposit after deposit being made into their checking account, Nerve gets the balance between sin and sensation right.
New York City is the PERFECT backdrop for the orchestrated chaos of this crisp night. The couple zooms across bridges by bike and weaves in and out of traffic, all against the steely night stabbing westward forever. From such great heights indeed.
Thanks to Nerve, the techno-thriller FINALLY finds its groove.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity-all involving teens.
Runtime: 96 mins
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writer: Jessica Sharzer
Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade
Genre: Crime | Thriller
Tagline: We dare you.
Memorable Movie Quote: "White people problems."
Theatrical Distributor: Lionsgate
Official Site: http://www.playnerve.com/
Release Date: July 27, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 25, 2016
Synopsis: A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers."
Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Available on Blu-ray - October 25, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS:X; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS Headphone:X; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Lionsgate does Nerve’s filmmakers a solid with this MPEG-4 AVC transfer. Jam-packed with crisp details and illuminating neon swaths of light, the 1080p transfer, presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, is a glorious delirium of sparkling colors and breakneck speed. Its beauty is breathtaking. Black levels are solid and the night – as this largely takes place over one night – looks seriously unending. Shadows – when there are some against all that neon – are deep and full of edges. The pulsing DTS-X (or DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) soundtrack is engaging and definitely goes deep. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music will guide you through a city that never, ever sleeps.
There are two modes: Player or Watcher. Each one unlocks three different supplemental items for a grand total of 6 overall featurettes/games/information bits. They are beyond basic, though, and simply graze over their subjects without much exploration. It’s a little disappointing. You do get all modes of the movie’s deployment. From blu-ray to DVD to digital code, it’s all here in one package.
- Creating Nerve
- The Governor’s Ball Takeover
- Do You Have The Nerve? Game
- Are You A Watcher Or A Player Quiz
- Player Profiles