Nerve ★★★

Can a kinda dumb movie still be kinda dumb if it’s technically noice, neon-lit lovely and surprisingly charming? Nerve certainly does beg that question.

From the directors of the infamous Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost take a head-first dive through the bright underbelly of an internet thriller. The big NYC is their playground for a Pokemon Go meets 4Chan daredevil bloodsport of lunacy, where Vine star-like risk-takers play to pay their way to the top and anonymous cult elitist watchers are there to see it all unfold.

Where the film works is through its lunacy, with a liberal insensitivity to give the audience what they want. Nerve taps into that audience indulgence which worked for films like Unfriended and Hunger Games, where you fully acknowledge the shtick on screen could never really be implemented, but it hooks you with that curiosity on how far they’ll take the ball and roll with it. Doing this through smooth, neon-lit filmmaking that keeps your senses going, while being accurate with internet portrayal. Visuals that appeal to claustrophobia, fear of heights and ferocious traffic, while at the same time, there’s a live chat on the side with trolls saying “Pfft, whatta loooosar”. Teens using actual websites with their designs and sounds all in tact, while the War Games-like hacking slips in that just makes you giggle.


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