An internet based game that can cause people to become crazy and obsessive?  Come on… how can I believe that?

Okay, perhaps the sarcasm is a bit too strong because clearly, the concept behind the new movie called Nerve is not that far of a stretch.  The fact that this could happen is a plus in this film’s column.  However, those cell phone batteries in the movie that never seemed to fail… wow, those batteries were way better than mine.

Shy wallflower Vee (Emma Roberts) finds herself trying to bust out of the shadow of her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) and so she signs up to the new online game sensation, Nerve, where people sign up as your followers and offer you dares that can earn you cash.  Youhave to complete these dares by filming yourself on your phone and putting them on the Nerve website.  Vee meets up with another player Ian (Dave Franco) and the two of them take on the game.

I found a lot of this movie charming.  I did like the relationship at the start that developed between Vee and Ian.  I was very taken with the lovely Emma Roberts, who was beautiful and carried this film well.  Vee started to come out of her shell as she playfully accepted each increasingly more challenging dares.  These dares would become more and more dangerous as the night moved along.

I also liked the secondary characters here, as they really reflected the world of social media taken to the nth degree.  I was interested in how the relationship between Vee and Sydney was disintegrating the more Vee became her own person.  There was also a relationship with Vee and her friend Tommy (Miles Heizer) that I would have liked more of.

The film, though, really started to weaken as it reached its climax.  In fact, the entire third act falls apart.  Suddenly, there was dark forces behind the game.  Ian had a mysterious past and was in the game for a more dastardly reason (even though we hadn’t seen any of this before) and the hackers, who we hadn’t seen much of anything prior, become a big time deus ex machina.

And the conclusion to the film was downright ridiculous.

There was a “Purge” feel to this film, as we never learned anything about where this game came from, who these mysterious forces behind the game were or why they were so focused on creating this game.  With the villains undefined, when this became a big struggle against the game, things started to not make sense.

The “snitches get stitches” line is just childlike.

Then, the film tried to make a statement about how people can be such horrible people by hiding behind screen names, looking at the community of online line, such as Twitter and message boards.  That felt very forced as well.  The implication was there throughout Nerve.  It did not need to beat us over the head.  It could have been more subtle of a message.

This really felt like a dual film.  One part I enjoyed quite a bit.  I felt entertained for awhile.  The third act really found the movie lacking.  So I was not sure what I was going to do for a score.  I feel as if the film is somewhere between a 2.8- 3.2.  So I will go right in the middle.

3 stars



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