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What we can learn from the film Nerve.

Screenology – Nerve a film that teaches us a lot.


So what is Nerve?

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.“
Industrious high school senior, Vee Delmonico, has had it with living life on the sidelines. When pressured by friends to join the popular online game Nerve, Vee decides to sign up for just one dare in what seems like harmless fun. But as she finds herself caught up in the thrill of the adrenaline-fueled competition partnered with a mysterious stranger, the game begins to take a sinister turn with increasingly dangerous acts, leading her into a high stakes finale that will determine her entire future.

So what did the reviewers say about Nerve?

Nerve’s fast pace and charming leads help overcome a number of fundamental flaws, adding up to a teen-friendly thriller with enough energy to occasionally offset its muddled execution.

What does Sarah say? I was so excited to see this film and in my opinion, it didn’t disappoint, sure the ending was a little rushed and I think it would have made a better series than a film but I still loved it. I have always been fascinated with gaming in the real world and was obsessed with Killer Net, a Lynda le Plante series from the 90s. I remember well the criminal minds episode that uses a similar concept. This film is not for the faint of heart and there are times that you may be watching with clenched fists, particularly if like me you are not a fan of heights. It is a dark story I am sure lots of people who feel games a bad influence will use this film to prove their point. But the concept and the ideals and messages in this film are in my opinion fascinating and it is clear that the creators really understand technology and modern-day youth.

A poster of the film Nerve

What are the key learning concepts of Nerve ?

Are you a Player or a Watcher?

The main concept is an interesting and challenging one; the film starts with asking a key question, Are you a player or watcher? In essence, that seems such a simple question, but really it is asking many things Are you a leader or a follower? Are you a risk-taker or not? Do you like to be challenged or not?

Our main character is a geeky, introverted type who on the surface looks like a watcher, but decides she wants to be in charge of her own life and chooses to be a player. She sees her life quickly spiral out of control but learns so much from taking these risks.
The dark element in this film is clear. We have the watchers daring the players to take risk after risk after risk for money and fame and going up the leader board. Some of these dares are funny but as the film moves forwards they get more and more dangerous. To me, this feels like a cry to the anonymity of the online world and how easy it is to just follow the crowd and go along with the flow, even if the results could be devastating. It shows the power of the mob and the mob mentality to a tee.

And the pinnacle of the film been of coarse when the watchers are asked the ultimate questions should he kill her? And when they answer yes the message that appears “You are an accessory to Murder” really showing the real dangers and something I am always talking about that by encouraging a crime you can become the criminal yourself.
It shows quite clearly something that often adults have a very hard time getting across to young people

What I also find interesting about this film is how many adults or should I say grown-up characters there are. The film primarily takes place in a youth landscape where the adults have no impact whatsoever on the outcomes. Even at the end, it is a group of young people who save the day; the adult can merely watch and hope they can do what they have said they can. And I think this is a truth that we don’t talk about; there are on-line worlds where adults can only look on in bewilderment, even if we know they exist.

A still from the film Nerve

How to use this film as a conversation starter.

There are so many conversations that this film can spark. The main one clearly being, what is the dark side of the internet?
The film captures this so well in ways other films have failed. And offering these questions as a conversation starter would start a great debate.

Are you a watcher or a player?

The big question and one that will get people talking for sure. What does being a player mean? What does being a watcher mean? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Where could you be a player more in your life? This entire question is bound to get teens talking.

When are you complicate in a crime on the internet?

Is voting for someone to do something as bad as the person actually doing it? Is telling someone to send a sexually explicit picture to their boyfriend as bad as sending it? Most crimes contain an element that also makes it an offence to encourage the offence or act as an accomplice in some way, a fact that young people appear to not really have an idea of. I think this conversation could be really helpful for a great debate to start.

Have you watched Nerve? If so what did you think?

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