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Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis
Writing Credits:
Jessica Sharzer

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers."

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-X
Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
DTS-HD Late Night
English Descriptive Audio
DTS Headphone X
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 10/25/2016

• 15 Character Pods
• Outtakes
• “Governor’s Ball Takeover”
• Interactive Game
• Quiz
• Player Profiles
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Nerve [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 16, 2016)

Based on a 2012 novel by Jessica Sharzer, 2016’s Nerve offers a modern-day twist on “Truth or Dare”. A popular online game called “Nerve” requires players to accept challenges so they can win money.

Viewed as a conservative goody-goody by her friends, high school senior Venus “Vee” Delmonico (Emma Roberts) decides to spice up her image via some “Nerve” time. This snowballs and places her in a game with increasingly high – and dangerous – stakes, events that lead her to pair with Ian (Dave Franco), the object of her first dare.

With Nerve, we get a story that offers the potential to comment on the nature of modern society. It touches on the often-voluntary absence of privacy that comes with our online world, and we see the level to which people live through social media. All these elements create a movie that could be insightful and dynamic.

Unfortunately, Nerve fails to show much understanding of the deeper issues to which it alludes. Heck, I find it tough to argue the movie even suggests these concerns, as it seems wholly unconcerned with the societal ramifications of the concepts it raises.

And that’s not necessarily a terrible thing, as not every movie needs to bring us deep meaning and subtext. Even without any social commentary, Nerve could work fine as a basic thriller.

Alas, that doesn’t occur. This means that Nerve not only lacks a compelling intellectual component but also it doesn’t bring us much in terms of excitement or drama.

The main problem stems from the movie’s inherent absence of danger. No matter how potentially perilous the story’s situations may seem, they feel toothless, so we never invest in the characters’ dilemmas/threats.

Honestly, we never invest in the characters period. Vee, Ian and various supporting roles feel one-dimensional and cliché. They come out of High School Drama 101 and never turn into personalities about whom we care or find interesting.

Really, most of Nerve just feels trite. Its underlying story throws out thin characters who engage in dramatic elements we’ve seen a skillion times in the past. If the film brought creative, energetic “dares”, it might rise above these issues, but it doesn’t. All this leaves Nerve as a bland, ineffective thriller.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Nerve appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie boasted a strong visual presentation.

Sharpness seemed solid. Only a smidgen of softness interfered on a few occasions, so the majority of the flick appeared tight and well-defined. I saw no moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes stayed absent. Print flaws also remained absent.

Nerve brought us a highly stylized palette that often opted for the usual teal and orange. However, it threw out additional hues, with an emphasis on purple and reds. These colors looked well-rendered. Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows were smooth and clear. This was a fine transfer.

As for the movie’s DTS-X soundtrack – which downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 on my system - it offered a reasonably good affair. Music dominated the soundscape, as all the speakers presented score/songs as an active partner in the action.

Though not an action extravaganza, some effects brought life to the proceedings. For instance, a scene on a motorcycle added zip to the tale, as did a dare on subway tracks. Much of the material stayed in the environmental realm, but the various channels managed to contribute a good sense of the events.

Audio quality also worked well. Music sounded full and lively, while speech was natural and concise. Effects gave us accurate, dynamic information. While I didn’t think the soundtrack dazzled, it functioned pretty well.

The disc’s extras force you to decide if you’re a “Watcher” or a “Player”. Activate “Watcher” and 15 Character Pods become available. These run a total of 26 minutes, 45 seconds and feature directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, producer Allison Shearmur, stunt coordinator Stephen Pope, and actors Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Miles Heizer and Emily Meade.

The clips cover story/characters, cast and performances, Schulman/Joosy as co-directors, sets and locations, shooting some of the “dares”, and music. With an average running time of less than two minutes, one shouldn’t expect much substance from these featurettes – and one won’t find much substance from them. We get some production basics but the snippets remain forgettable and fluffy.

Subtitled “The Fat Jewish Gets Tattewish”, a set of Outtakes goes for two minutes, 48 seconds. These focus on improv moments in a scene with comedian Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky. Not much amusement results.

“Watcher” concludes with The Governor’s Ball Takeover goes for two minutes, 46 seconds and presents a bunch of people who play “Nerve” in public. It gives us a pointless reel, largely because the “dares” don’t seem all that daring.

Under “Player”, we get three components. Do You Have the Nerve? gives us an interactive game in which you’re required to follow “dares” such as “get into the shower with your clothes on” or “find someone who will allow you to brush their teeth”.

These are silly but not dangerous. If you complete all presented tasks – or pretend to complete them, like I did – you get a simple “congratulations” message but nothing fun.

Next comes Are You a Watcher or a Player?, a quiz that asks questions meant to determine if you’re a “watcher” or a “player”. I’m a “watcher” – and I didn’t need a quiz to tell me that.

Finally, we encounter Player Profiles. These offer biographies for six of the movie’s characters. They’re perfunctory and not especially interesting.

The disc opens with ads for La La Land, Now You See Me 2, The Divergent Series: Allegiant and Guilt. No trailer for Nerve appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Nerve. It includes all of the “Watcher” extras but the “Player” components remain exclusive to the Blu-ray. If you want to watch the “Watcher” material, it’s much easier to access on the DVD – it offers a “Play All” option absent from the Blu-ray and lacks the latter’s gimmicky presentation.

Despite the potential to become an exciting thriller, Nerve feels limp. The film indulges in soppy teen melodrama too much of the time and never earns the sense of danger it aspires to deliver. The Blu-ray brings us positive picture and audio along with mediocre supplements. I wanted to invest in Nerve but the movie left me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 4
0 3:
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