The “Nerve” to call it a blockbuster!

Yahn Ramos, Staff

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     At the end of July, the movie Nerve – directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost – was released. Just weeks after the premiere, one only had to pay an outlandish $5.00 for the movie with barely 10 seats filled. There was ample time to soak in the minor critique that could be observed from the media; a 7/10 on IMDb and a 64 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

     Nerve begins with a meek representation of realism and parallels to the world with a touch screen iMac that does not exist, being the home for Vee’s base of operations. This could be a complete distraction from the movie.

     Nerve also depicts that an iPhone’s screen can serve as a fingerprint reader instead of the home button; this is something that stuck out like a sore thumb.

     In the movie, Vee Delmonico (Emma Roberts) is exhausted of being the social sideshow. After harassment and head games from her friend Sydney (Emily Meade), Vee decides to become a player on the popular online game that challenges players to dares provided by their viewers, or “watchers,” as coined by the Nerve app. It does not take much time before the unreasonable, yet highly intriguing dares turn the once reserved Vee into an adrenaline-fueled competitor requiring her to perform increasingly dangerous stunts. Eventually, Nerve begins to take a sinister turn; Vee finds herself in a do-or-die finale that will definitively shape her future.

     Through the confusing beginning, viewers begin to sense the struggle of friendships when Sydney, the first established user of Nerve and first famous player with thousands of watchers, attempts to hook Vee up with her crush to remove her from her comfort zone. This establishes Vee as a pathetic character, while Tommy (Miles Heizer), her neglected best friend, is ignored as he warns her of the dangers of the game.

     It felt as if one was forced to feel empathy toward Vee. This is all paired with the subpar dialogue and corny lines of friendly banter that may induce a cringe-worthy experience for the viewers. With nothing short of an overemphasized beginning, it finally gets into the app itself and how it consumes her reality. This changes her from a dweeb to a fantastic fad to follow. She gains an audience and begins to show superiority over Sydney, who longs for the popularity Vee has obtained which causes an expected turmoil.

     This itself could have been played off better if they had not spent 25 minutes of screen time focusing on how Vee was trying to live up to Sydney’s so-called superstar status of the original Nerve Player.

     Through arguments and minor dares, the story transitions to Vee’s new and rather spontaneous connection with Ian (Dave Franco). They meet after Vee has to kiss him because of a conveniently coincidental dare from watchers, and there is an immediate connection between the two, the watchers and the audience. Continuing with the clichés, they turn into friends and run off into a fairytale love story of Bonnie and Clyde, committing irrational acts for the thrill of the chase.

     The competition heats up when they go from love to conflict as Vee begins to see the realities of the game when Ian’s nemesis Ty (Machine Gun Kelly), reveals the truth of the seemingly innocent player and their undisclosed relationship. She gets kidnapped for attempting to reveal the secret game to the police – to no avail – and is placed in a cage in which they ensure she knows “Who’s the boss of her life.”

     Turning from an adrenaline-filled super film to a dark, misconstrued plot line, the watchers create a punishment-like dare for the snitches by establishing new conflict between the two players – in matters of life or death. Ian is forced to explain how he’s stuck in the game because like Vee, he blabbed, but someone has to live on and escape the grip of the game and he attempts to give her an out.

     Then, Tommy, the character with 10 minutes of onscreen time, saves the day.

     Surprisingly enough, he does not even get her as the reward; she ends up with Ian and the movie ends with a “cliffhanger” of a watcher watching the couple happily ever after, even though viewers are led to believe the game is shut down.

     This is an overall a confusing plot in which the moral of the story is unclear, and definitely not blockbuster material.

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