" filled with increasingly exciting set pieces, Nerve is a thrilling tale about the potential pitfalls of following online crazes"

The internet is a vast and complex creation that has, whether we like it or not, become a vital part of people’s lives. We use it to do our jobs, we use it to keep in touch with our friends and families and we use to read reviews of all the latest film releases.

As the internet has become increasingly essential to everyday life, it only seems appropriate that filmmakers and writers have begun to mine the online world to create interesting stories.

The 2010 documentary (even if its authenticity is debatable) Catfish helped act as a cautionary tale warning us to always be wary of who we form online relationships with, with the term “Catfish” now being informally used to describe the process of duping someone into an online romantic relationship.

This brings us to Nerve the new thriller from Catfish directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who once again give us a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of the internet, but also provides us very entertaining thrill ride.

The film follows Vee a quiet and somewhat unadventurous high school student who, motivated by her more popular friend, signs up for the online game NERVE, in which “Watchers” dare “Players” to perform increasingly grand feats with the “players” receiving cash prizes in the process. After signing up for the game, Vee partners up with Ian another player, and the two embark on an adventure around New York City, ticking off dares as they do so, in the hopes of securing a place in the finals.

Emma Roberts excels in the role of Vee being a genuinely likeable and sympathetic protagonist who we are able to get behind from the opening minutes. Her transformation from shy and unadventurous to a much more outgoing and confident person is perfectly captured by Roberts, with numerous highlights throughout. Her rapping along to Wu-Tang Clan while getting a tattoo, or admiring herself in a nerdy fashion in a fancy dress make for some pretty funny and endearing moments.

Dave Franco makes for a serviceable leading man as Ian, and while I’m generally not a fan of his work, I found myself pleasantly surprised here as I actually found that I liked his character with Franco brilliantly coming off as a charismatic risk taker, who we are led to believe is playing the game for noble reasons, but is, in reality, playing for far more tragic ones.

The true highlights of the film are the dare sequences with each one being as an exciting set piece, growing increasingly grand with each new dare, starting small such as Vee kissing a stranger in a diner, before escalating to genuinely gripping moments such as a blindfolded high-speed motorcycle ride through New York.

This array of dares make for a genuinely exciting premise and keeps you guessing as to what comes next. Also, I’ll be honest, the game of NERVE for the first half of the film, to me, actually looks like it could be a lot of fun, with it mainly being people making fools of themselves and having a good time.

The second half of the film somewhat falters a bit as the plot goes down a predictable path. Vee falls out with her best friend who becomes jealous of her growing popularity, and the dare’s that become more dangerous, such as walking across a ladder propped between two high rise flats high above the streets, or ducking under a passing train, with a montage showing people violently leaving the game by either “fail” or “bail”.

This all culminates in a finale in which Vee berates the “watchers” hiding in anonymity while daring people to perform dangerous feats, in what feels like a well-intentioned but heavy-handed swipe at the likes of trolls and other unpleasant internet types.

One possible problem the film faces though above all else though is well the passage of time, with the film being very much a film of its time, which could, unfortunately, leave it seeming rather dated in a few years.

Despite its flaws in the second half, and its rather predictable finale and potentially dated plot (we'll let time be the critic on that one), I must confess I really enjoyed Nerve a great deal.

Led by two likeable charismatic leads, especially Roberts who is easily the stand out among the two, a stylish and colourful visual approach from our directors, and filled with increasingly exciting set pieces, Nerve is a thrilling tale about the potential pitfalls of following online crazes, making for a pleasantly surprising watch that you should all perhaps check out.