Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman return to the darker side of the internet with flashy teen thriller Nerve.
Unadventurous high school senior Vee is goaded into taking part in an online game called Nerve in which 'Players' carry out increasingly risky dares chosen
for them by the 'Watchers' in exchange for ever larger sums of money. Teamed up with fellow player Ian they become a big hit with the Watchers until things
take a darker turn.
A film of two halves, Nerve starts out like a romantic comedy with a modern twist until a shift into darker and ever more implausible techno thriller
territory. Thankfully charming leads Emma Roberts and Dave Franco ensure that it remains watchable throughout and the film has a vibrant energy that keeps
things moving forward. Whilst New York at night is effectively captured by cinematographer Michael Simmonds.
Orange is the New Black fans should also get a kick out of the appearance of Samira 'Poussey' Wiley and Kimiko 'Soso' Glenn in the same film (though sadly
never in the same scene).
As a comment on the dangers of the internet, Nerve rarely says anything particularly profound beyond 'The internet can make people do the dumbest things
for fame and fortune', but it's a well-paced and rarely dull thriller that coasts along on the strength of its likeable leads.