On a whim I decided to take the plunge and watch this as I had been hesitant all this time. I simply had very little faith in the concept and dreaded I was going to be bored out of my mind since it looked like this film was aimed at a younger audience. To my surprise it was far more appealing than I had hoped for.
Although that being said this is far from the outrageous or daring film it's marketed as. For that it plays it too safe and even borrows concepts from films like The Purge without committing to it. In my opinion that is one of the biggest mistakes since the film was begging to do much more with the concept. In essence the plot is not that special however it does come in a very attractive package that at least for me made it worth my time. First and foremost, the style. The visuals are stunning. Almost every scene contains neon light in a way that it almost becomes a character of it's own. Let it be clear that I love neon and that perhaps some might not feel the same. It gives the film an Eighties look without being one. Second is the soundtrack. Again something that some might not agree with. But for me it was a winner since it did fit in the film quite nicely. Last but not least I liked the characters. One of my worries was that the majority of the characters would represent people I have very little or no connection with. So I was very happy that apart from a few flaws I actually could relate to some of them. To an extent of course since the actions of the main characters are questionable and stupid at best. Not in a million years would I do what they did. But their actions could lead to discussions if you are watching this in company which is something I recommend you do since that will make the viewing experience more pleasant.
I do have to remark that this film will disappoint the thriller fans if they are expecting a thrill ride full of twists and turns. While there are some surprises most of them will hardly impress and have to be taken with a grain of salt since most of the events are incredibly unrealistic. For example, all the people in this film have super phones that always can film and stream in the highest quality and yet never run out of batteries. They also are always connected and don't experience wifi problems. Some of the videos shot of the so called participants of the Nerve game can't possibly be filmed by any phone or public camera plus the programming experts clearly speak nonsense all the way. While this might seem bothersome it never got in the way of my enjoyment since from very early on I understood I had to ignore these flaws and should accept this as a full blown fantasy with a what if scenario.
So yes overall this film is hardly clever or intelligent but entertaining nonetheless and that is fine with me.