Capitalizing on millennial smartphone obsession, Nerve creates a cellphone video game that challenges players to take actions for money. Venus, or Vee, (Emma Roberts) decides that she is no longer going to be the nerdy photographer girl and become a daring popular, even famous, girl, taking the spotlight from her friend Sydney (Emily Meade). Vee quickly gets caught up in the thrill of the game leaving her dorky friend Tommy (Miles Heizer), for another player, the suave, motorcycle riding Ian (Dave Franco).
The dares grow progressively dangerous as each player competes to the top spot. Some of the dares are interesting to watch as the tension ratchets up including a motorcycle ride and challenges that involve heights. The continuous need to show the perspective from the phone camera makes for awkward angles but also helps create the environment of reality.
Some Orange is the New Black alum show up including Samira Wiley and Kimiko Glenn. Juliette Lewis also shows up as Vee's overprotective mother. There was an opportunity to dive deep into the protagonist but the film skirts over her brother's death and doesn't much explore any of the other characters either.
There is some interesting commentary about online trolls that hide behind internet pseudonyms and make choices they don't believe will affect them in real life but the movie doesn't go too far down that path nor strive to show any real consequences for anyone's actions. I managed to catch a sneak preview of this movie so I'm posting way before the release date.
I'd recommend to young viewers looking for a unique techno-thriller about characters their age but not viewers with a discerning thought process desiring a coherent plot. The plot was well-paced to make the film not seem too long, but the shallow characters and typical teenage plot may seem a bit repetitive to older audiences.