High school senior Vee Delmonico joins a popular online game and soon finds herself caught up in a dangerous, adrenaline-fuelled game of cat and mouse which will ultimately determine her entire future.
Nerve asks the question: Are you a watcher or a player?
This is the choice thrill-seeking players accept when playing Nerve, a series of increasingly risky dares thrown at them from anonymous watchers to win valuable rewards. As small-time pranks ramp up into dangerous, sometimes deadly acts, fans watch the action captured live on smart phones. Based on the popular young-adult novel by Jeanne Ryan, Nerve is both an edge-of-your-seat thriller and a razor-sharp examination of the seductive power of social media.
Based on the novel by Jeanne Ryan, Nerve is directed Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman and stars Emma Roberts (We’re the Millers) and Dave Franco (Bad Neighbours, Now You See Me). Co-directors Joost and Schulman are best known for their work on Catfish and the Paranormal Activity series and were keen to produce an action-packed film that offers keen insights into online behaviour. “Our first film, Catfish, started a national conversation about the internet and identity,” says Joost. “This is a similar opportunity to talk about the way all of us, teenagers in particular, communicate these days. We can do all kinds of things on the internet that we might not do in real life.”
In Nerve, when Staten Island high-school senior Vee Delmonico (Roberts) is challenged by her best friend to take part in the game, it launches a series of life-changing events. “We take a shy girl, sit her in front of the internet, and she’s suddenly inspired to be someone she didn’t have the courage to be yesterday,” says Schulman. “Someone in cyberspace is daring her to be something she may not want to be. Vee goes down the rabbit hole to the dark side of that. The online audience can be powerfully alluring. All of a sudden you’re posting pictures you never would’ve shown anybody, and that’ll catch up with you.”
Joost and Schulman first learned about the project from producer Allison Shearmur, who thought the filmmakers’ grasp of technology and youth culture made them the ideal directors for Nerve. “These are young filmmakers with a lot to say about their generation,” she says. “Their style of storytelling is of the moment, authentic and unique. The technology in the film is 10 minutes in the future, but the themes and situations are right this second.”
The game operates through a smartphone app, allowing prospective players to sign up and start taking chances instantly. Getting out is another story. “The watchers have access to your personal information from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat— everything else you’re using,” says Joost. “They custom-craft dares based on your fears and aspirations. It starts out pretty easy and fun. But the game tries to find your limits.”
After the success of Catfish, Joost says he and Schulman were often asked if they believed the internet was inherently dangerous. “We said no, the internet is actually very neutral. It is what you make of it. It can be an inspiring place that introduces you to people you would never meet otherwise. It can push you to become a better person. Or it can bring out something darker in you. At the end of the day, it’s about owning up to your actions.”
It was the more sinister side of the internet that seemed like a topic that was ripe for exploration to actress Roberts. “People are putting their whole lives on the internet today,” she notes. “This movie captures that phenomenon and takes it one step further.”
Certainly the star thinks before she posts, “nothing’s ever truly private. I think this movie taps into that feeling. Whatever you post can potentially be seen by anyone, whether you want it to be or not.”
Nerve sounds a terrifying and engrossing film and we cannot wait for it to hit Showcase screens!
Nerve is at Showcase Cinemas from August 12