Nerve Reviewed By Clayton Barnett


The Premise
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."

The Review
Nerve is truth or dare in the digital age - minus the truth part - and is one fun fast-paced ride.

You wouldn’t be wrong thinking this had undertones of The Hunger Games; it’s based on a Young Adult novel by Jeanne Ryan with teens fighting to be the last one standing in a popular online game. Directing pair Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman (Catfish, Paranormal Activity 3) put the pedal to the metal for a large chunk of this entertaining 90 minute movie. The frenetic pace makes for a fun rush, which helps overlook some technical issues, like how can their phone batteries last so goddamn long? 

The filmmakers use every tech-trick to keep the momentum full-throttle, close up Go-Pro style shots and slick graphics that are a visual treat, especially the brilliant ode to online design in the closing credits. They’ve also got a cracker teen-friendly soundtrack (bar some karaoke Roy Orbison) that pushes the pace too.

But they don’t quite hold their nerve for the finale. Instead of having some actual real-life consequences – something the teens could walk away and think about - it opts for a preachy moralistic message along with some roll-your-eyes hacking scenes. Of all things it reminded me of 80’s classic The Running Man - another look at the public’s need to be entertained with real-life stakes – with a similar pulpy storyline that Arnie-actioner had a killer ending.

But you can’t have everything, especially when you already have the charm and grace of Dave Franco and Emma Roberts. These two are on fire here, with the likes of Dave causing pulses to race running around in his undies. After a string of quality supporting parts it’s great to see another Franco step up to lead roles. Speaking of familiar connections Julia Roberts’ niece Emma does a good job with her wallflower goes wild child character arc.  

The Verdict
Despite a few flaws this teen techno-thriller is pretty thrilling stuff. Slick filmmaking, pulsating visuals and two electric leads makes for a fun Friday night rush, if you have the nerve. 

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 1st September 2016
Rating: TBC
Duration: 96 minutes 
Genre:  Crime
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade
Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

The Extras
Kimiko Glenn and Samira Wiley previously starred together as a romantic couple in Orange is the New Black.

Filmmaker and YouTube personality Casey Neistat will have a cameo in this film.

In one of the opening scenes, Vee (Emma Roberts) is "looking at the news" on her computer. On the right side of the news page is an article on James Franco; real-life brother of co-star Dave Franco (Ian).

Machine Gun Kelly's first major big budget film.

Reunites Emma Roberts and Dave Franco who co-starred in the music video "Go Outside" by Cults.

YouTube star Casey Neistat featured himself and younger brother viewing a private screening of the film on July 10th 2016 via his YouTube channel. Casey is featured in the trailer for the movie and also credited as a player/watcher in the film's ending credits

Similarly to Scream 4 (2011), Nerve stars Emma Roberts, features a character named Sidney, and uses instant fame as a cautionary tale. In Scream 4 Emma Roberts also happens to star alongside co-star Dave Franco's fiancé Alison Brie.


Emma Roberts and Emily Meade both starred in the movie "Twelve". However, neither of them shared any scenes together.