Movie Review: “Nerve” – Action-Packed, Weak Plot

Written by Caitlin Cooper August 29, 2016


In a world where gaming apps and online games are increasingly popular and wide-spread, Nerve taps into the dark side of the internet community. It’s a thriller with daring moves, but if you try to dig a little deeper into the story, you won’t find much. The film may be action-packed and have you rooting for Vee (Emma Roberts) and Sam (Dave Franco), but the plot leaves much to be desired.

In Nerve, Vee is used to being on the sidelines and playing it safe. Pressured by her friends to live a little, Vee decides that instead of watching the new hot online game of truth or dare she’ll be a player. But as the dares become increasingly dangerous and dark, Vee begins to question the anonymous community that manipulates players into staying in the game or losing everything. But Vee is the one player not afraid to fight back, and she’ll risk everything to be the best and last player of the game without going to the extremes the community wants. And if she survives, she may just be changed for the better.

“Snitches get stitches.”

Vee, a teenager on the verge of graduation, entertains the idea of going to a stellar college far away from home, but she’s scared. Ever since the death of her brother, she’s played things safe and done what makes others happy. An argument with her friend makes her realize she’s become timid, so she decides to take a chance and play the new hot game everyone’s talking about. It begins all fun and games for Vee as she kisses a stranger and then is serenaded by same said stranger, but as Vee and Sam team up to play the game she stops seeing the hilarity in it anymore. The only thing that initially motivates Vee is being told she can’t or would be too afraid to do something. The high school drama in Nerve is a little too cliche and cruel – must we always have girls ‘slut shame’ each other? – so it doesn’t add much of value to the plot. But Vee becomes more brave and bold, and that’s probably the only real character arc in Nerve.


The plot-line that’s more interesting to me is Vee choosing to continue playing so she can save up for school and help out her mom. But the fact that the game has access to her bank account and seems to have eyes and influence everywhere is more puzzling and mysterious. If you’re looking for answers about who’s really behind the game aside from the watchers, then you’ll be disappointed. You don’t get any answers. And that’s when the plot begins to unravel. Also, I find it hard to believe that people would want to pressure someone to shoot someone purely for entertainment. But okay. And the scene in which Sam is forced to do the dare that cost his friend his life is so rushed that it makes the plot-line of his friend dying because of the game seem like a plot device or an after-thought. But Nerve definitely knows how to create tension and thrilling scenes when various characters attempt the dares they’re given. You really feel afraid they’re going to be hit by that train or fall from the ladder. Or that Vee or Sam will die during the finale. Each dare has you on the edge of your seat.

“You only use ten per cent of the internet.”

Nerve is one of those films that’s big on thrill and mystery, with plenty of action scenes and mystery to keep you interested. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely entertained while watching this film. But the plot is a little flimsy if you look close enough, and the fact that they left it open for a sequel is predictable (because the ending was too easy) but exasperating. I just don’t feel like there’s more that needs to be told, because in a sequel we probably still wouldn’t get the answers this film asks. Aside from that, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are good actors who work well together on screen. If you’re looking for a film that’s more heavy on the action than the plot, then you’ll probably enjoy this. Nerve isn’t a bad film, – I liked it well enough – it’s just not amazing.

My Rating: 6.5/10


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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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