Film Review: Nerve Was Racking Crazy Edge And Social Criticism

Nerve is going to be released on July 27, and I have to say I was so surprised by how much fun this film was. Like, Ghostbusters, the trailers seemed okay, at best. Though I love Dave Franco, and think Emma Roberts shines in every Ryan Murphy series, I still was not convinced that Nerve would be worth the movie ticket. It seemed like a ready for HBO kind of film. Thus, I was as shocked as you will be to see how good it is.

The first 10 minutes of the film are a brief, stereotypical recap of the life of a frumpy, nerdy girl who never takes any risks; this time called Vee (Emma Roberts). Her rambunctious friend Sydney (Emily Reade) introduces her to the secret, viral game: Nerve. Here you can decide to be a watcher, one who pays to see and challenge others to dares, or you can be a player, i.e. the one that takes the dare. In a non-surprise for plot necessity, Vee decides to join to prove she is bold. Truthfully, what makes Nerve shine as a film is the action sequences and charismatic coupling of Dave Franco (Ian) and Emma Roberts. Its attempts at teenage drama, like the “frenemy” relationship between Vee and Sydney, are not its strong points. Luckily, there were not too many to drag the film down.

What makes Nerve such a good film is the blossoming romance of its leads amongst some pretty heavy commentary on social media and cyber bullying. As you see comments on the couple, which include negative ones, run through the movie screen like texts and tweets, you start to realize how superficial the internet can be. Comments included wanting to rape and drug Sydney or proclaiming Vee was the most courageous young woman to walk the earth. The fickled reactions of the internet tossed between idolatry and degradation. See was either “god” on earth or a ” stupid whore”. It was fascinating to watch, from a sociological perspective, how spot on Nerve captured paradox of the internet’s greatness and madness. Again, i was surprised to see a film so marketed as a teen action drama to be really insightful on social media’s power and how we can dangerously use it.

The whole point of Nerve is that people are daring others to do some crazy, embarrassing things, which it still bad to want to see people in such tense situations. Yet, when it escalates into vile, sadistic behavior, you wonder where did humanity go?  Why are people choosing to be so vicious because they are anonymous? What is it about a mask that makes evil feel  empowered to strike so atrociously? At the end of the day, people are choosing to dare these heinous acts, and Nerve reveals that no mask can hide the face of morality or rather its lacking of it. With the current sociopolitical sphere of this world, Nerve was not on my radar to further this lesson of wisdom. I did not expect to receive an intellectual teaching on how you cannot make wickedness into kindness because you are behind a screen. You are still culpable for your choice of cruelty. Just on that the theme, alone, I would recommend Nerve. In addition, the cast is very strong with Dave Franco being as charming as he usually is, and Miles Heizer adding great, sarcastic quips throughout the film. He played the role of Tommy, Vee’s best friend, with a dry hilarity that had people rolling. Again, another good surprise to a film that is actually great! I have yet to see a scripted movie clearly and easily present the issues of social media/ cyber bullying quite like it.


Overall, Nerve was a very thoughtful, action-packed film. As the dares and comments turn up, you feel like you are on the edge of your seat. Is the world going to dare them to kill each other? Hmmmm? Moreover, what is happening to this world? As a reflection of current realities, I was happy to see Nerve motivate people to step in and speak out on cyber injustice. Everyone walked out of that film feeling like they wanted to walk into it, and give the world a scolding for being so blatantly mean. The irony is the world of Nerve is our own.

Nerve will be out in theaters July 27.