A TECHNO thriller for teens with energy to spare, Nerve touches on intriguing social media surveillance issues but spirals into outlandish and unbelievable theatrics.
“Good girl” teen Vee (Emma Roberts) rebels against her squeaky clean image by signing up to take part in online dare game Nerve.
Members either watch or play – if they play, they must complete dares to gain cash prizes; the riskier the dare, the higher the returns.
Vee teams up with Ian (Dave Franco) and the two become the equivalent of Insta-famous; their watchers count increases exponentially and they are sent on dares together.
Their dares are at first fun, thrilling and mostly harmless, but they get progressively dangerous to the point where the money is hard to say no to.
With a nifty idea and delivered like it is hopped up on Red Bull, Nerve draws you in with its appealing cast and vitality.
The world these teenagers live in is neon-looking, their surroundings stylishly illuminated in Day-Glo colours.
The film loses its way about the midway point when it becomes evident this is basically about a bunch of bratty teenagers succumbing to peer pressure and the stakes remain low.
These teens stand to lose a few bucks, a bit of dignity and maybe a couple of mates – no biggie in the grand scheme of things.
A convoluted climax complete with a morality lecture delivered with sledgehammer subtlety is the final glitch that undoes it all.
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade
Two and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas September 1