Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Shulman (2016) BBFC cert: 15
A high risk game of dare puts the life of a high school student at stake in this zippy and intelligent techno-thriller.
Despite being directed by the makers of the woeful third and fourth movies in the Paranormal Activity franchise, Jessica Sharzer’s sometimes heavy handed script unexpectedly provides a timely critique of the dangerous power of the internet.
There’s a focus on data theft and online anonymity which magnifies malign peer pressure and allows for cowardly cyber bullying.
Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are thrown together after signing up to play the latest social media craze, Nerve. Strangers pay to watch online as Vee and Ian compete for followers.
Filming themselves on smartphones as they perform increasingly outrageous dares for greater amounts of cash, the pair thrill to the instant celebrity, money, romance and adrenalin rush the game provides,
But as kissing escalates to tattoos, theft and violence, the duo find the potential of rich rewards are countered by dire consequences for those who try to leave the game.
As the action powers about the nighttime streets of New York, the charm and chemistry of the leads are maximised as they bounce pleasingly off each other.
It’s great to see Juliette Lewis back on screen albeit in a slight and underwritten role as Vee’s mother. Emily Meade and Miles Heizer offer solid support as Vee’s friends.
Sadly the script short circuits towards the end with a couple of gags shamelessly stolen from a couple of rather more successful cinematic gamblers.