Movie Review: Nerve

nervemovieposterAre you a Watcher or a Player?

Well, in the literal sense I am a Watcher as I went and saw the movie this weekend after it was released and I’m ready to share my thoughts with you!

Not sure what Nerve is supposed to be about but you really love Emma Roberts and/or Dave Franco?  Check out my review of the novel, first.

So, let me break down the adaptation part of the movie first.

The screenwriter basically kept the bare bones of the novel, which includes Vee and Ian as the main characters with Sydney and Tommy as the supporting characters, and their personalities are pretty much the same as what was described in the book.  Nerve, the daring game that Vee gets sucked into is also mostly identical to the one portrayed in the novel, as it starts off with somewhat innocent dares that then escalate into more and more dangerous things. However, there are no similar dares in the movie to the ones that are in the novel.  I predicted this when I saw the trailer and realized that none being shown were remotely close to what was in the book, which was a bit disappointing, but most adaptations deviate from their subject matter for the most part. From an adaptation standpoint: it kept the basics and then did something different, while still being a great movie.

Stark differences that I noticed:

Me, Nerve

Pre-Movie Selfie

Vee is a make up artist and actual behind-the-scenes tech for her high school drama department in the novel.  In the movie, the writers make her a photographer, which puts the “behind the camera sidekick,” stereotype for her personality up front and she doesn’t get much personality development past that and a single conversation with her friends about being shy.

Sydney is an active player in Nerve in the movie, where in the novel she is just someone who aspires to play at some point and is jealous when Vee plays on a whim.  Sydney is also just a spoiled rich girl looking to get some kicks in the movie, but in the novel is a musical actress who wants to go on to Hollywood (and this motivation features in a dare for Vee).

Ian’s background story is completely different in the movie than in the novel, but I’m not going to go into details because spoilers!

Tommy is a passive aggressive shit in the novel, but is completely neutralized bar his crush on Vee in the movie.  I suppose this means I like him more in the movie than I did in the book, smh.

The very small frame story that features previous players in the novel is adapted into the movie, but in a completely different way.

The ending is also QUITE different.

spoilers river songOverall, I found the movie to be really enjoyable.  Sure, the fast-paced nature of the story-telling really hinders any type of character development.  In addition, there isn’t as much character resolution in the end.  The movie has its excellent moments, and I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of it, even though I had read the book.  I’d warn readers to go in expecting it to be different and to be pleased with the end result.  The pacing was well done, although it kind of just takes off after about 20 minutes and never stops, so it almost gives viewers (watchers) the adrenaline rush that the players in the game would have.  It’s definitely worth a watch and the $10 it costs to see.

Random Thoughts that I jotted down during my viewing:

  • Who is the random guy on Vee’s computer? Oh, her brother. That wasn’t in the book
  • Where’s the musical? I really wanted some singing
  • Kimiko Glenn is an adorable manic pixie girl
  • Does anyone else notice that Syd’s nips are showing in that shirt
  • Who is this random other guy friend
  • Smh, I’d be more attracted to Vee’s crush if he was the star of the school musical like in the book
  • Yeah, Vee, joining the game as a player is a valid coping mechanism
  • The use of the graphics are amazing
  • Excellent brief explanation of “To the Lighthouse,” though
  • Okay, I’d play this game too if I got to kiss Dave Franco *shrugs*
  • He totally doesn’t have a motorcycle in the book. I miss his Volvo
  • Less prostitutes and virgins in this so far
  • Glad they both have cute underwear and shoes on for this
  • What kind of cell phone plan to all these kids have
  • How are none of them getting data usage alerts from being constantly on the internet
  • How much are these magical phone plans
  • Guy with ponytail is kind of attractive
  • Oh, his name is Ty, how did I not realize that sooner
  • Syd is jealous. That’s definitely from the novel
  • Here come’s the fight
  • I’m going to need this ladder dare to stop now
  • I’m starting to panic, too much of the heights showing
  • I’m with you Syd, heights are terrifying
  • Oh, shit is going down
  • Stop scaring me, movie
  • How does wearing a bright red sweatshirt camouflage you at all
  • Samira Wiley is too precious for this world
  • How do these people breathe with random pieces of cloth over their mouths
  • I feel like I’d get light headed
  • TWIST. Vee is much more clever in this movie

If you go see Nerve, let me know what you think!



  1. Really loved this film, and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Saw it twice in theaters! The acting is great, the ending is surprising, and overall, it sends a good yet subtle message to the young adults of this era about the harm in “harmless” fun. Highly recommend it!!!

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