Nerve | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Social media is scary fun in this nutty, but entertaining thriller

A young woman from Staten Island named Vee (Emma Roberts) joins a social-media-driven, truth-or-dare-style game where online “watchers” keep ramping up the intensity of dares (there is no truth option). It starts amusingly enough — for a few bucks, Vee has to kiss a stranger in a diner. Fortunately, he’s the rakishly handsome Ian (Dave Franco), who is also playing the game. The two set off for Manhattan to pursue more dares, racking up more cash and followers as they go. It’s all loads of laughs until things gets crazy and weird and scary. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s thriller is pretty junky — it’s adapted from a young-adult novel and the ludicrous plot might read better on paper — but some junk, like a bag of orange-dusted tortilla chips, is weirdly compelling. It moves fast, and the nuttiness of it — the Nerve game is a reputed worldwide phenomenon, a mash-up of Hunger Games and social media that also seems to involve only six people — keeps it buoyant. It kinda sorta tries to be a cautionary tale about the influence of social media, especially on impressionable and immature youth, but Nerve is simply giddy about all the glowing screens and all the affirmation (however hollow) they deliver.

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