Review: Nerve is the Latest and Greatest Teen Thriller


By Allison Shearmur Productions, Lionsgate Film -, Public Domain,
By Allison Shearmur Productions, Lionsgate Film – , Public Domain, WikiCommons

Nerve is a 2016 teen thriller/mystery film that follows a young teen named Vee (Emma Roberts) as she joins an online game called Nerve, which has a community of watchers and players. If you are a player, then you compete in a truth-or-dare-like game in which the watchers film your every move, and the prize is viral fame and money. Audiences follow Vee as she embarks on insane, even life-threatening, quests to win the game and prove to her popular ex-best friend, Sydney (Emily Meade), that she’s not boring and sheltered. Along the way she meets Ian (Dave Franco), and they become partners in the game, working together to complete every dare thrown their way.




I was hesitant to see NerveIt looked like another teen movie about an insecure girl and a mysterious guy she falls for and some intense moments until the producers decide to give the nervous audience a happy ending.

Okay, so some parts of it were exactly that. But you know what stopped this film from being another Typical Teenage Movie?

Two things, mi amigos.

#1. The Pacing

Whoever is behind Nerve knows what they’re doing about the pace. This movie is whiplash fast, cutting from one scene to the next, always keeping the audience on their toes. Vee and Ian are constantly taking on crazy dares as the camera keeps rolling, and the film never gave me a break from the action. I never had a moment to really think about what was going on, so there were no blatantly obvious plot holes (or at least I never had enough time to spot them). I just sat there, engrossed in the film and I let the emotion build as the action continued. As the movie continued my nerves heightened. I was tense and excited about the fate of each character, and wondered what the movie was going to throw at me next. Unlike some other teen movies, Nerve never lets the screen time linger on excessive drama or anything unrelated to the general plot. The pacing really makes this film stand apart from others in the teen movie genre.

#2: The Relatable Factor 

Nerve is surprising relatable to the average teen. The writers of the movie didn’t make the characters too stereotypical. With such relatable characters, the film was free to explore character motivation, and to dive deeper into the complex idea of high school relationships–friendship, family, and romance. I liked how Vee’s and Sydney’s relationship was explored and evolved during the film. They were a good example of best friends fighting and competing with each other, and it’s really great to watch their relationship play out on screen and see the moment when they decide that their friendship matters more than a silly game.

Nerve also deals with the themes of social media and popularity very well, showing how attention and fame can become so addictive that we lose sight of things that really matter:  our futures, important relationships, and even our own lives. That really connects back to how social media truly affects teenage life today. We may not have something equivalent to Nerve, but the internet and social media in general can be just as dangerous, depending on how you use it or what you’re willing to do for attention and “views.” I think a movie like Nerve is more relatable to teens like me because it’s not something with an impossible and far-off plot like The Hunger Games or Divergent. No in the audience is from District 12, but they all  have social media. They might want to compete in a truth-or-dare game like Nerve if such a thing existed.

Nerve is surprisingly relatable to the average teen.

As for the rest of the typical teenage movie part, there are a few unrealistic scenes, but nothing too bad. I thought the dares the characters were challenged to were both hilarious and insane, but mostly unrealistic. I don’t really think today’s teenagers (me included) would ever completely risk their lives for a game, by for example, participate in a dare in which they had to hang of the side of a construction crane with one arm for five seconds. I hope, actually, I know that most in my generation are smarter than that. But hey, the dares and the insanity of it all makes this film fun.

In conclusion, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are easily talented enough to carry the movie as lead roles, and though this film won’t be a classic for generations to come, it iss certainly something fun for teens now. Nerve is a fairly original teen movie about the dangers of social media, but the thrilling action is truly what brings in the audiences. If you’re looking for a fun and fast-paced thriller, you’ve found it in Nerve.


Mary Claire (MC) is an outspoken 16 year old blogger who loves to write about music, movies, politics, travel, lifestyle, and human interest stories.

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