Nerve is the most unfortunate (in the most literal meaning of that word) sort of techno-thriller, the sort that I’m sure was about five minutes ahead of history when it was being written and became ten minutes behind by the time it actually hit theaters.
The concept of a smart-phone app that let us broadcast our going-ons to the world for the pleasure of the validation of others seemed a logical progression when the film was being developed in 2014, as was the concept of a socialized augmented reality game hinging, again, on our social media and our smart phones. Now it’s 2016 and Periscope and Pokemon Go are parts of life rather than ideas in the pitch folder of an investor.
But them’s the breaks, which means Nerve is resting on being precariously relevant and a metaphor for “The Way Things Are.” Fortunately for Nerve, it seems to rest on the crucial advantage of being made by actual young people, who seem to have an understanding of not only “The Way Things Are” but more crucially “Why Things Are The Way They Are.”
Plus, it helps there’s a few ideas in its filmmaking to keep the whole thing feeling as young as its subject matter.