In a fairly disappointing Summer movie season - for the most part - so overstuffed with reboots, sequels and big-budget blockbusters not quite managing to impress, Nerve feels like something fresh - a fun little contained thriller that surprises and succeeds on all fronts.

This film isn't one for breaking new ground. Nor, is it by any means up there alongisde Captain America: Civil War or The Nice Guys as the standout Summer pictures. However, it's certainly better than most of the films we've seen over the past couple of months and, considering this is a small film, it delivers quite the punch and makes quite the impression - more so than most bigger films have. Nerve is one of those rare Summer films that is just mindlessly entertaining and much better than it should be, coming out of nowhere and taking everyone by storm. This is a fast-paced thriller that, whilst clunky and messy, doesnt slow down for a second and is entertaining from the beginning right through to the end. Similarly to 2013's Now You See Me, this film has come out of nowhere to be the surprise sleeper hit of the Summer - a fun, mindless and disposable, crowd-pleasing popcorn flick.

Set to transition from high-school into college, Vee Delmonico (Emma Roberts) is tired of playing it safe. Caught in the shadow of her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade), who has quite the following and online reputation, Vee decides to partake in Nerve - an online game that has recently become quite the hot topic, in which users can choose to be 'a watcher' or 'a player', partaking in dares suggested by watchers if they choose to join as the latter. When Vee meets fellow Nerve-player Ian (Dave Franco) on her first dare, the pair are instructed to work together and start completing challenges together. However, as their popularity increases, and they begin to quickly rise up the ranks, Vee and Ian soon find themselves playing for life or death as they begin to entangled further within the game, as stakes are raised and the dares made more difficult, with everything to lose.

There's a nice simplicity to the story here - its dare or die - and its fun to watch our two leads work together to overcome various different obstacles and challenges to complete their dare, with each one getting more difficult than the last. The film almost feels like a more tame, YA version of Saw, with less blood and gore and more gooey, idealistic teen romance and drama in the mix too to provide accesibility and target the film towards a bigger audience. However, perhaps similarly to the Saw films, the film lacks any real depth or substance or emotional weight as a result of how thin the plot really is (Nerve is, in effect, a cinematic compilation of viral videos from Youtube, of people doing crazy things, tied together with a very loose and basic plot).

Whilst its fun watching it all take place, the film begins to feel a little repetitive and predictable after a while; the screenplay is unable to innovate or keep things atypical. There's not enough depth to the premise, or to the characters, to keeo things too interesting and to have us actuallyinvesting in just what's going on; the lack of attatchment, as a result, means a lack of stakes and engagement, making the proceedings feel quite unsignificant and disposable. The cinematography is gorgeous though and this is a very visually arresting, stylish picture. The colour palette is vibrant and the neon-soaked visuals are wonderful. Dave Franco and Emma Roberts fit into this world too, and they both give fine performances, but, again, we don't invest in their characters enough to really care. The film opts for the style over substance approach and whilst its fun for a while, it's hard to really remember a whole lot about this film as soon as the credits start rolling. Yet, in a Summer so over-saturated with such disappointing, overbloated blockbusters, a disposable and fun little thriller with no consequence or signifcance is just what we need.

VERDICT:
Dripping with style and fun, Nerve is a neon-soaked, adrenaline-fueled thriller. Visually slick, surprisingly fast-paced and quite the entertainer, this is the fun, disposable Summer flick we've been wanting.



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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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