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Title: Nerve

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:84

“Nerve” was a film that I completely dismissed in the summer. The first trailer that I saw had myself and my friends rolling our eyes at each other and saying things like “oh yeah, I TOTALLY want to go see that one. Well, that and the next “50 Shades of Grey”!”. The premise seemed to be one of those truth or dare games without the truth, with the inevitable turn towards a darker edge once the film wore on. Well, I wasn’t completely wrong. That was certainly the trope that was trotted out on screen, but what I didn’t expect to see what some great chemistry between Emma Roberts and Dave Franco. Both of whom who made the derivative and completely ludicrous premise actually pretty watchable. I won’t say that “Nerve” is a great film, but you can’t take your eyes off of it wondering just what will happen next.

Vee (Emma Roberts), is a high school senior who desperately just wants to move out of her mother’s house (played by Juliette Lewis) and go to a nice art school. Only thing is that she’s too chicken to ask her mother if she can do that instead of staying in New York and just commuting to the local college. She’s what you would call a wallflower. The person who quietly sits on the side lines and watches life go by because she’s too timid to reach out and grab what she wants. This all changes when she decides to take place in an online game known as “Nerve” that her friend Sydney (Emily Meade) is playing. It’s a completely decentralized game that is basically made up of nothing but “watchers” and “players”. The players accept dares from the watchers and if they complete their tasks they are awarded money. If they fail, they are kicked out. The dares seem to be ranging from flashing your school during a football game or making out with a random stranger while someone films it so that the “watchers” can pass judgement on passing or failing. Simple enough. Right?

Well, Vee decides that she’s finally had enough of being a timid mouse and impulsively signs up for the game. Her dares start out simple enough, but soon the danger increases as the crowd wants more and more from her. Another player in the game, Ian (Dave Franco) soon gets caught up with her and the anonymous faces behind the watchers urge the two of them to take part in dares together, pushing them closer and closer to the winners circle. What Vee doesn’t know is that there is a much darker side of the game. A hidden third category that only comes into play if you snitch on it to the authorities. Vee finally gets to the point where she is sick and tired of being jerked around by the watchers and wants out, but snitching lands her in some hot water. Some water that can only be gotten out of if she WINS the game.

Much of the actual events end up being ludicrous and the game itself is rather self failing as a tech nerd myself. The concept of keeping something like this completely secret from the police and public outside of the MILLIONS of watchers is kind of stretching it a bit far, but the explanation of how it can’t be shut down because it hops around from server to server and user to user as its broadcasting point is so technically unsound it’s not even funny. How do you have a game that is so decentralized that NO ONE is the creator, but somehow people are working behind the scenes to steal identities and put money into and out of accounts? Who chooses what the watchers see and who CREATES the original code to begin with? The movie tries to foist the idea that it is “all of us who just simply watch”, but that makes little sense when you actually scrutinize it. This is where my frustration stems from (outside of the simple fact that there is very little consequence for actions shown in the movie compared to what people would REALLY be daring).

On the other hand. Roberts and Franco as perfect together. Beside the fact that they are 31 and 27 and trying to be teenagers (something that has always annoyed me in movies) the two really work well on screen. They have a sort of giddy excitement and chemistry that is intoxicating. Not to mention the fact that you’re actually curious about what dare they’re actually going to pull off next. Something the creators (the people who brought you “Catfish” and the third and fourth “Paranormal Activity” films) do a good job of hiding until the last moment. While I am extremely frustrated at some of the inconsistencies and technical lunacy, the characters make it interesting enough that I actually wanted to finish watching the movie. A feat which they accomplish with relative ease thanks to the leads.


Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity-all involving teens

Video :5stars:
“Nerve” comes to Blu-ray with a simply STUNNING looking 2.39:1 AVC encoded disc. I couldn’t find out what cameras were used to film the event, but it was obvious that they used some very high end digital pro cameras as well as some use of handheld and head mounted cams to accomplish their goals. Luckily they all blend together seamlessly to form a demo worthy disc that pops with color and detail from beginning to end. Colors literally pop off the screen with sharp vibrancy, such as the bright green of Vee’s new dress or the bright primary red of her hoodie in the finale act of the game. The film tends to take place mostly at night in New York City and black levels are simply paramount to the image. I noticed two scenes with intermittent banding, but other than those two short shots the film is completely clean and clear of any major imperfections. Fine detailing on clothing and facial details are rocks solid and even the longer shots of New York (such as when Vee and Ian racing down the city streets blindfolded on his motorcycle) look incredible. Amazing picture and one of the few times I’ll give out a 5/5 video rating.

Audio :4.5stars:
I had almost thought most studios had given up on DTS:X. More and more titles are coming out with Dolby Atmos, but its direct competitor has had only a handful of films come out over the years (seemingly only Lionsgate and Universal appear to still be trickling out a few movies here and there). Despite not being as popular (an ironic thing being that DTS DESTROYED Dolby in the DTS-HD MA vs TrueHD war) it still is a rocking track. The pulsing energy from the synth pop music permeates the film with just about every waking second, and the rush of the adventure and dares blast through from all angle, making one incredibly immersive experience. The music, the heavy LFE, the intense surrounds, they all are raging and swirling around you, but the dialog is never drowned out by the intensity and stays well balanced with the rest of the chaos throughout. There are a few times where the roaring of the crown in the final dare seemed to overwhelm everything, but that seems to be an intentional event rather than a fault of the mix.

Extras :2.5stars:

Watcher Mode
• "Creating Nerve" - 15 Character Pods
• "The Fat Jewish Gets Tattewish" Outtakes
• "The Governor's Ball Takeover" – Social Media Stars in a Game of Dare
Player Mode
• "Do You Have the Nerve?" Game
• "Are You a Watcher or a Player?" Quiz
• Player Profiles

Overall: :4stars:

“Nerve” is an interesting film that divides my intrigue and my frustration. I honestly thought I would DESPISE it from the trailer, but the chemistry between Franco and Roberts make up for a lack of logic and courage to push the boundaries. The disc itself is nearly flawless, though. Insane video and incredible audio make for quite the audio/video treat, and the extras are rather interesting (although partially segregated by a gimmicky option of choosing which extras are on file based upon whether you want to be a “watcher” or a “Player”). The movie itself is strangely entertaining despite a billion logical fallacies, but still a flawed enough movie to keep from REALLY getting involved in it. Still worth a rental.

Additional Information:

Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written by: Jeanne Ryan (Novel), Jessica Sharzer (Screenplay
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), Spanish DTS 5.1, English DTS 2.0, English DTS Headphone:X
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 96 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 25th, 2016

Buy Nerve On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Interesting Rental

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