"Nerve" is a cautionary tale of the near future, or tomorrow, telling of a fictional high-stakes online game where watchers pay to watch as they concoct dares for its players to complete in exchange for direct bank deposits. Reckless, yes, but this concept really isn't all that far-fetched until the film topples over in the third act, trading nuance for heavy-handed moralizing. The picture operates best as a romanticized, rule-breaking teen drama about a 17-year-old girl busting out of her comfort zone. In following her increasingly hairy journey into the dark underbelly of fame-obsessed web culture, the story easily could have spoken to the underlying dangers of its premise without needing to spell them out. Alas, directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (2011's "Paranormal Activity 3" and 2012's "Paranormal Activity 4") and screenwriter Jessica Sharzer (TV's "American Horror Story") don't give viewers the credit they deserve. Growing exceedingly convoluted the further it wades into mundane thriller territory, "Nerve" jumps the proverbial shark and loses its nerve.
Responsible high school senior Venus 'Vee' Delmonico (Emma Roberts) is grappling with telling protective single mom Nancy (Juliette Lewis) she wants to go away to a high-priced California arts school rather than accept a scholarship to a local college on Staten Island. Repeatedly reminded by attention-seeking best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) that she never takes chances or fights for what she wants, Vee chooses on a whim to be a player in a 24-hour interactive online game called Nerve. Her first dare—to kiss a stranger—put her in the path of another player, Ian (Dave Franco), the two of them joining forces as they head into New York City for a night of increasingly precarious challenges. Though Vee intends to bow out early, she is soon swept up in the competition and the money she is racking up, in over her head alongside a mysterious young man about whom she realizes she knows nothing.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review