Ambiguity Comes At Night

It Comes At Night

 

Horror movies, they seem to be popping up at random times during the year.  Why June 9th called for one, I don’t know, but nevertheless… here I am writing another review on one.  Tonight, we hit It Comes At Dark, a movie starring Joel Edgerton.  Based on the trailer, I was expecting a thriller set out in the woods, as our main cast remained isolated in their proverbial fortress of solitude.  And with good reviews on other sites, my expectations further swelled.  What lies hidden in the house?  Robbie K will try to answer with another spoil free review.

 

LIKES:

 

Unique Twist: I use the word unique lightly as most stories have been told in the daunting flood of movies.  This film though treks away from the typical presentation of the horror genre, focusing a lot more on character development instead of just on the scares.  It comes at night takes a more artistic explanation, using the metaphorical devices to build up the suspense, story, and spook factor present in the film.  Such an “original” presentation is fun to watch, as the realistic atmosphere adds a little more edge to the movie.

 

Creepy:  If you’ve read my other horror reviews, you know I like a movie that balances jumps with creep factor. It comes at night doesn’t rely too much on the abrupt symphony blares that shatter the silence, but instead focuses on the creep factor to get under your skin.  The director brought three components that helped deliver the motive.  The first is the use of shadows, letting the unknown hijack your imagination and pain the picture of what lies n the dark.  Have a fear of the night, or at least night in the woods, then get ready for your worst nightmare, because that is what you are going to get. Second is the utilization of subtle sounds to further tease your imagination to create an image of what lurks in the dark. And finally, the realism factor.  It comes at night’s twist could certainly happen and realizing the fact spices up the terror.  That’s right, no over the top monsters, gratuitous maiming, or cheesy over dramatic stories about possession. It’s just straight up creep fest, using simple scare tactics.  Nice job guys.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow Pace: It Comes At Night does indeed have a unique twist, but it also opened the movie for a much slower presentation. After a rather tense opening, the pace drops to a snails run as you watched the family work to make a living in this post-apocalyptic world. Like one of the weaker episodes of the Walking Dead, much of the movie involves sequences of chores, upon chores, upon…yep you guessed it…more chores. And given the short run time, I wanted more bang for the buck.  Certainly it develops character (a plus), but without that exciting finish and tension to bring it full circle, the movie dragged and left me bored at times.  Artistic? Yes!  Realistic Yes! Needed all the time?  No!

 

Frustrating flashbacks:  This movie has plenty of weird dreams and semi-flashbacks trying to tell the story and do indeed build up the tension of the situation.  What is frustrating though is how incomplete these flashbacks are in the grand scheme.  The director had a brilliant idea to tease you with the unknown threats looming in this movie.  Unfortunately, the flashbacks, again, never get to the final answer, and all the extra flashbacks (while a great portrayal of thought and fear) frustrated me to know end at the constant interruption of the momentum and not providing the answer. I get it…that’s the point of this movie, but come on…give us something.

 

Ending:  The ending is certainly not the typical, run of the mill finish you expect in most spooky flicks.  So, this reviewer gives them props for that originality and significantly hard punch in the face.  Yet again, the director’s obsession with being artistic resulted in an ambiguous ending that drops to black just like that.  After bringing things to a full boil, the big finish fizzles out with a hasty wrapped up conclusion and a silent final scene where nothing happens.  No answers to what has happened to the world. No answers to the unknown factor that led to chaos (no clear one anyway). And no satisfying ending to complete the run.  So unless you just like dark, vague, finales where you are responsible for piecing things together, get ready for a disappointing ending.

 

The VERDICT:

 

It Comes At Night certainly defies the typical horror genre, and finally injects some uniqueness back into the mix.  A fantastic use of shadows and using the imagination to fill in the gaps amps up the scares and truly colors the unique “monster” looming in the woods.  Yet, they went a little too far with this gimmick and the incomplete ending just didn’t do it for me.  Abstract thoughts and artistic quality aside, I can’t recommend this one for the theaters except for those who like psychological analysis of a plot. 

 

My scores are:

 

Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

Before The Editing Falls!

before-i-fall

Today’s review is on Before I Fall, a cryptic title that can symbolize so many things in the world of Hollywood.  If you have seen the trailers, they portray this movie as another endless time arc installment where days continue to repeat until a solution is found.  But outside of that, it was uncertain if the aim was horror, drama, thriller, or just straight up Sci-Fi.  So, to solve this question, I’m back in the trenches to give you my thoughts on the film, in hopes of answering your questions.  Let’s get started, shall we?

 

LIKES:

  • Great looking cast
  • Fun Soundtrack
  • Decent acting
  • Nice Story
  • Good Lessons

 

Summary: Okay let’s start with the shallower likes of the film with how great the cast looks. Before I fall’s primary actors are beautiful, cute, and many are adjectives that people can use to describe themThose looking to enjoy 90 minutes of eye candy will get their fill as Zoey Deutch and her teenage friends fill the camera with their flare. If looks aren’t your style, and you go to the movies for music (ironic no?), then you’re in luck because the movie has some fun tracks laced in that again are very fitting and for me toe-tapping as well.

Okay enough of the small likes, let’s get to the good stuff.  Movies with an all teen cast are often susceptible to becoming overacted messes that are more annoying than anything else. Not the case for this film. Before I Fall’s leading ladies have created believable relationships that describes the high school experience.  The “deep” bonds of a click that are strong, yet so fragile, is a common element in this movie, as well as the hardships teens feel in the pseudo-adult world of being a senior.  I felt the love, the hates, the struggles, and the anger all nicely balanced in this film, and kind of connected with some of the issues they had.

While the acting is decent, the story is the stronger quality for me that drove emotion home.  The answer to the question, for those who haven’t read the book, is Before I fall is more drama mixed with the Sci-Fi quality of looped time (e.g. Mean Girls meets If I stay with Ground Hog’s Day repetition).  I don’t know how the combination works for you, but for this reviewer it wasn’t that bad given my initial expectations of horror.  One of the things I appreciated, was how the diverse the days were.  With movies that involve repeating the same day, often the scenes grow stale by the third iteration.  While this happens at some points (the classroom scene), Before I Fall did a nice job changing up each day as Deutch’s character discovers the problems in her life and grows as a person.  And being a guy who appreciates character development, this movie’s strongest aspect is indeed strengthening a fairly shallow character and teaching us some life lessons in the process, before the big “twist” (again assuming you haven’t read the book).

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Lacking in some areas
  • Scenes hastily thrown together at times
  • Preachy
  • Drawn Out

 

Summary: Film adaptations of books are always lacking given the time constraints and budget a film has.  Before I Fall has a lot of things tied well together, but there are still some weaker components that need some amping up. The protagonist’s life is surprisingly complicated for a teenage role, with many demons waiting to face Sami.  I applaud their attempts to cover all these issues, and while they did a decent job, I felt some of the qualities were lacking.  Many scenes felt rushed, or haphazardly thrown into the mix, lacking the needed development the book most likely had.  This lackluster development resulted in fairly simplistic scenes that takes away its theater quality.  What also took away from the theater quality was how preachy components of the movie.  Hearing Sami randomly go into bouts of loving/appreciating her friends, went down the eye-rolling path for me, as they layered on the cheese heavily. But if you are about the deeper bonds of passion, and straight to the point dialogue, this dislike won’t really affect you.  But overall, this reviewer felt many of these dislikes led to an incomplete picture, with lots of drawn out moments to one of the two predictable endings that, while emotional, wasn’t the big excitement I had hoped for.

 

The Verdict:

 

While I haven’t read the book, Before I fall is indeed a nice refreshing taste on the teenage drama genre.  The film seems to be a culmination of many movies brought into one story, with a creative use of the time-looping theme to explore lots of avenues that are missed in movies these days.  Throw in some decent relationship building with some good lessons and you have what feels to be a semi-decent portrayal of the book.  Yet, the film still needed some fine tuning in the editing compartment to bring full life to this rather simplistic (and clichéd) tale. Overall, this reviewer feels this movie is best left to a home viewing, but encourages you to send your teenagers and pre-teens to this film if you are looking for something.

 

Scores:

 

Drama/Mystery:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

Should you “Get Out” and See This Film?

get-out

Another February weekend, another time for a horror movie to hit the silver screen. Tonight, my review is on Get Out, a simplistically titled tale that is from the mind of Key & Peele’s Jordan Peele! How well does a film directed/written by a comedian fare, as always, it’s my job to share some thoughts, insights, and opinions on the latest film. So, stay in, grab a drink and read my thoughts on this “epic” film.

LIKES: • Good Central Character • Comedic Relief • Well-Paced • Decent Story

Summary: It’s always good to have a character you can grip onto if you are going to watch them face the nightmares of this film. Chris is one of those protagonists that fulfills that role containing all the elements you want in a character: backstory, level headed decisions, not annoying, etc. Daniel Kaluuya is certainly one of the better horror genre actors, and portrays his role in a manner that doesn’t want to make you roll your eyes, outside some emotional flatness the team made him portray. Yet the other actor to steal the show (not based on looks) was LilRel Howery as Rod the TSA. Rod’s scenes are purely comedic, serving to relieve the tension the movie builds up and keeping it decently integrated into the story. These scenes, in addition to lightening the mood, keep the pace of the movie flowing to avoid that prolonged dragging feeling that many horror films seem to have. Such a pace kept the film interesting to me by keeping the suspense at a maximum. Perhaps the biggest strength to me, is that Get Out has a decent story laced with some originality. While not the scariest tale to hit the screen, this film has some hot topics built into the story (primarily racism and its wrongdoings) that go alongside the character building moments of the story. In addition, there is a nice twist to the tale, which may please many fans of this genre.

DISLIKES • High Political Points • Unnecessary Scenes • Not scary • The ending being a little too easy

Summary: While Peele’s writing is certainly impressive, tasteful, and clever at times, it also falls victim to being overly political for me at times. Get Out has many scenes were the extras throw the multiple judgmental stares, the rude, overstep their boundaries with too personal (and insulting) questions, or out of the way monologues about skin color that were more eye-rolling than necessary. It’s not that I don’t believe this issue exists, I just grow tired of directors deviating from the cleverness and pace of the story to make a point in these movies. Another unnecessary deviation was some of the comedic relief moments. Don’t get me wrong, Rod’s comedic relief was very welcome and had some of the best dialogue presentation of the film. However, there were moments where his scenes felt out of place, randomly thrown in there where they felt more like an SNL intermission than being pertinent to the story. Guess a comedian can’t fully drop his roots.

His comedic background may also be the reason this movie wasn’t too scary either. Again, Peele has done the genre justice in terms of making a thriller with a decent plot that has some substance to it. But this movie failed to scare me at any point of the film, outside of maybe a few creepy stares from the brother or other staff. I think Peele tried to make it creepier from the realism aspect, but outside of that the jump scares were poor, the extras presentation was more annoying than scary, and the theme of the movie takes a different twist. Finally, when the movie reaches its exciting climax, Peele’s writing definitely leaves you feeling fulfilled on many levels. However, much of that ending seems to be a little too conventional that takes away from what he built. Things happen in random succession and there are a few moments where logic (and realism) are dropped like so many hot potatoes it again becomes more humorous than fun.

The Verdict:

Despite my doubts, Get Out is a movie that stands out (in a good way) from many of the horror movies unleashed in the last few years. I always find value in a film has a good central character that has development and a well-paced, intriguing story to support it. In addition, while the comedy does have its out of place moments, the comedy is also a welcome diversion to make you laugh, fortunately in a manner that isn’t overly stupid. However, if you are looking for a movie that will haunt your dreams and make you jump, this isn’t the movie for you. Whether it is the lack of scare tactics or the overly political moments, Get Out’s horror aspect is highly diluted in this film, feeling more like a mystery than anything else. Worth a trip to the theater? I’m on the fence about this one, but I have to say wait on this one until it hits home in a few months.

My Scores: Horror/Mystery: 7.0 (mystery element) Movie Overall: 6.0

 

Is There A Cure for Disturbing, Complex, Boredom?

wellness

            Horror movies continue to storm the theaters this month, and each is certainly its own unique twist on the genre.  This weekend, a fairly odd titled movie called A Cure for Wellness has snuck into the theaters. The trailers have painted this one an interesting tale to say the least, promising a mystery to be contained within the walls of former Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) the sanatorium? Robbie K back to present more thoughts on yet another movie to hit the theaters.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy Atmosphere
  • Unique Twist
  • Detailed

 

Summary:  If you wished for a creepy movie, then consider it granted because A Cure for Wellness is the personification of creepy.  The setting itself is more than enough to give you chills, as you delve into an isolated manor on top of the hill where dark, empty hallways and broad smiling staff await to “treat” our characters.  As Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) delves further into the mystery, he finds more pieces to the ever-shifting puzzle that only further gives you goosebumps.  And within these halls is indeed a unique twist to the normal horror story.  A Cure for Wellness will certainly have some “twists” that you haven’t seen before (or haven’t seen in a while) that of course has to do with the water they magnify in the trailers.  While I can’t tell you all the connections that lie within the walls of this film, you should certainly expect it to be detailed.  Where many horror movies trade detailed plots for cheap scares, Cure for Wellness does the opposite by making a very complex story with fewer jump moments.  You’ll have to pay attention to connect the clues, but rest assured the writers did a decent job developing the story to avoid any gaps or loose ends.  Nice to see that art hasn’t been lost.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Boring
  • Long Run Time
  • A little too convoluted
  • Stretch of the imagination
  • Disturbing

 

Summary:  While I am impressed with their attention to detail, A Cure for Wellness has many limitations that took the magic away for me.  First thing for me was how boring it was. The mystery is intriguing, but all the setup, detective work, and excessive focus on dried out dialogue took away from my curiosity.  In addition, Lockhart’s treks through the facility have little suspense to them, partially due to the security being surprisingly lax, and the sense of urgency being rather diluted.  The overall pace of the film is slow and without anything to spice up the climax, the 150-minute runtime feels much longer.

Maybe if the ending had been more satisfying the wait would have been well worth it, but sadly Cure for Wellness failed in this regard for me.  While certainly unique, Cure for Wellness got a little too creative at times and stretched into the realm of extremely bizarre.  It was an attempt to blend science with magic, as two very different paths blended together into an awkward twist I didn’t quite comprehend at first.  And even the execution at the end wasn’t that impressive, as the cheesy theatrics came to a rushed ending.

But the biggest limitation is the number of disturbing scenes contained in this film.  Imagine, if you will, the traps of the Saw films.  Remember the gore and suffering portrayed in those moments, where our poor cast was forced to scream until they met their fates?  Well, this movie mimics those details again, only without Jigsaw’s cleverness or convoluted designs.  You’ll get to see some truly psychotic moments in this film, as Lockhart falls victim to the treatments and “pampering” that must have been born in Hell.  You can guess that this kind of stuff isn’t my particular cup of tea, and while certainly suspenseful at times, our team got excessive in drawing these moments out. Perhaps this is the reason they say you won’t sleep at night.

 

The VERDICT:

 

A Cure for Wellness looked to be the unique twist the genre has been lacking for some time.  While the mystery is very detailed and developed in this creepy asylum world, it still has some pitfalls that take away from the movie. I’ll agree this movie will join the ranks of the cult status films primarily due to the graphic bouts of psychosis and disturbing twists. Past this though, it’s not a movie I can recommend for the theater, unless you get certain thrills from this kind of torture. 

 

My scores are:

 

Mystery/Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

Quality Sci Fi has Arrived

arrival

            Science fiction is a genre that gets a bad rap by many often because it is mixed in with science fiction/fantasy (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, and etc.). However, there are occasions where, if you give the series a chance, you’ll find a film that is a work of art.  Tonight, a few friends and I checked out Arrival to see what all the hype was about.  Is this movie truly worthy of the praise, or is it just overhyped advertisements?  You know the drill, read on to find out…please.

 

LIKES:

  • Strong acting chemistry
  • Awesome Science Fiction story
  • What a twist

 

You want to make a strong movie; you need strong cast to act the tale out.  Arrival has all that and a bag of chips with the crew assembled for this movie. Amy Adams leads with a stellar, or interstellar, performance that was one of her strongest performances in a long time. She played scientific and emotional, crafting a character that was very admirable to watch as she worked to decipher the alien language. Jeremy Renner plays the supporting scientist, whose expertise adds another dynamic to the mix to not only provide some clues, but also a potential friendship to Adams life.  The two together feel like a scientific team striving to help the world, and their chemistry mixes well that you would expect of the lead actors. In regards to Forest Whitaker, his military colonel performance is strong, rugged, and a bit suspenseful to help add some antagonism that also fits well with his costars.

But the acting isn’t the only thing you are looking for in a Sci Fi movie right?  You want a good story that blends reality with some advanced science concepts, right?  Good news, Arrival delivers on this aspect crafting a fairly realistic tale that is believable and not loaded down with special effect explosions.  The tale has mystery behind it, which will hook you into the film and carry you for the ride as one tries to figure out the aliens’ purpose. An added suspense is brought in by the time constraints placed by our overzealous military humans who strive to attack if a message cannot be conveyed.  As for you character developing folks, don’t worry there are plenty of sequences to illuminate the mystery behind our group, helping to add some depth to what would otherwise be a stereotypical role And the twist, well our story writers managed to surprise a number of people with a revolution that was both mind blowing and emotionally satisfying.  I was able to pick out a few “big” reveals, but they paled in comparison to the main revelation in store for you.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Alien Design
  • A few unanswered questions
  • Slow at points

 

   It is really hard to find errors for me in this film, so much of this is simply picky things that really won’t ding the scores.  The first is the alien design.  Our mysterious visitors were not that impressive for me, lacking any threatening features. Without revealing anything, they seemed to be a simplified copy of another creature seen in a movie series a few years ago.  Nevertheless, the things they did were really well animated and cool to watch, and despite not looking impressive were certainly intriguing to watch. Again a small weakness

In addition to all the good things I said about the movie, Arrival is a movie that will warp your mind and keep you asking questions.  Yes, it is a movie you have to pay attention to and will keep you thinking as you try to fathom the plot.  With the constant moving pieces and the multiple stories, you might wonder if they cover everything.  And for the most part they do as our writers make sure the film comes together in the end to deliver the messages and punch it has.  Pay attention America and you might just learn something.  Despite everything coming together though, there is one question my mind craved to know (which I can’t reveal) and I have to wonder what the whole point of the visit was when the ending finally came.  Again another small dislike for me.

 In fact, the only dislike that I may have to dock off is the pace of the movie.  Arrival isn’t the fastest moving film, and there are times where the movie seems to unnecessarily drag at times.  The movie sometimes dives a little too deep into the details (e.g. traveling to the ship, traveling the ship’s hallways, or seeing some of the character developing scenes). While these moments certainly bring the setting to life, the repeated scenes and extra details may not have been as necessary as they thoughtWhen the ending wraps up nicely though, these extra details feel welcome.

 

THE VERDICT:

I got to hand it to Arrival for delivering on the promises the trailers built up. The film is a true science fiction masterpiece that is intriguing, thought provoking, and suspenseful in one package. Those who aren’t big fans of alien films ought to give this one a whirl not only to have a good mystery, but also for the emotional backstory of our lead character.  Despite the slow pace of the film, our team brought a fantastic story together, one that I hope will be recognized for the intelligence behind it.  And if you are looking for a good twist, well get ready to have your mind blown.  Small weaknesses aside, this movie is definitely worth a trip to the theater for many people.

 

My scores:

Drama/Mystery/Sci Fi:  9.5

Movie Overall: 9

All Aboard! Dramatic Complicated Movie Ahead

girl-on-train

 

Drama, it’s a category that sells like hotcakes in the entertainment field.  Soap operas have been abusing this genre for years, and this weekend another big budget blockbuster will attempt to capitalize on affairs and deceit.  I’m talking about Girl on a Train, another book turned movie that looks to be a mirror of Gone Girl from a few years past. Does this movie hold true potential for suspense, or is it just old hat tricks?  Robbie K here, hoping to provide some insight into those questions.

 

LIKES:

  • Wonderful Cast
  • Delivers promised drama
  • A decent mystery

 

This film’s ensemble certainly deserves credit for bringing the tale to life. Emily Blunt leads the team off playing a part that was both emotional and complex. Blunt can portray pain well, bringing suffering out of the screen in a believable performance that seldom crosses into overacting territory.  Her emotions are in good balance, fluidly transitioning between each mood to capture the crazy edge required by her character. Haley Bennett has less emotion to cover, but portrays depression quite realistically in terms of emotional bluntness seen in the disorder.  As for Rebecca Ferguson, the third leading lady must have a jealous house wife inside of her, for she nails the distrustful nature down to the letter.  While these ladies take center stage, the rest of the cast do justice to their roles and create a world fitting of the mystery thriller story. Speaking of story…

Girl on a train is a tale that is filled with promised drama and mystery, perfect components for a suspense/thrillerOur three…”heroines” for lack of a better world, weave complicated relationships within the city. Some are good and some are bad, but all are dramatic and over the top to hook you into the characters’ lives. While I normally am annoyed by characters inability to let things go, this approach works for this film as it led to important character development while shedding light on the mystery at hand. As for the suspenseful mystery, it’s not the most unique puzzle to grace the silver screen. However, it is one with many layers and depth that require you to pay attention in order to uncover the truth behind the alibis. it. Such depth added to the suspense and kept into the movie as I waited to find the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

 

DISLIKES

  • Predictable ending
  • Convoluted presentation
  • Pointless scenes
  • Characters dropped at points

 

Having a mystery with many levels makes for a grasping tale, but sometimes getting too creative can be an issue. Girl on a train’s presentation is a bit convoluted, as the tale integrates past with present via a series of intertwining. I’ll admit it was an original presentation, but the flashbacks offset the momentum of the ship and sometimes transitioned back into the film so well you might have not realized you were back in the present. The result can be quite confusing and should you turn your attention away for a second, or go to the bathroom, you might become a bit lost. Fortunately, the ending is nicely wrapped up for you, but the rather predictable conclusion doesn’t make this complicated presentation worth the trouble.

Another dislike comes in the form of unnecessary scenes, primarily the ones involving sex. Call me whatever you want, but seeing forceful sex imposed on women, or seeing women seemingly bored with the art of making lust, does not make a good movie friends. I get it, sex sells as made evident by many films, and I will admit some major clues are dropped in these heated moments. Doesn’t mean I need to be drowned in all the naked, groaning details in such a short time span. Needless to say, the film earns its R rating for something other than cussing and violence.

Finally, some of the characters I feel got stiffed in this film. The trailers built up so many characters, but unfortunately they failed to deliver on some of them outside of dropping some key information before fading into the shadows. This hurt the movie in two ways.  The first is these supposedly spooky characters fizzled out, weakening the suspense of the film and making for boring characters. Second by doing this, the mystery becomes much easier to solve and further sacrifices the thrilling “surprise” at the end. Don’t worry though, you’ll still get that drama you so crave, even if you can get the answer in thirty minutes.

 

The VERDICT:

      Girl on a train certainly feels like a Gone Girl wannabe in terms of its dramatic atmosphere and complicated storytelling.  Yet it still lacks some of the things that made its predecessor so good, including better editing, more suspenseful characters, and not having flashbacks run interference.  Still it provides a good mystery to open the month up with the relationships many will sink their teeth into. Is it worth a trip to the theater?  I can’t say it is, but check this one out at home when you get the chance. 

 

My scores are:

Mystery/Thriller: 7

Movie Overall: 6

 

Do You Have The Nerve?

Nerve

 

The Internet, it was a revolutionary idea that was designed to connect people and share information to expand our knowledge. And then comes the modern era, where information is second nature in response to entertainment, trolling, and occasionally a uniting purpose. In fact, most of us know how the most popular thing on the internet (past pornography) are vines, memes, and other ranting media. Tonight’s film decides to highlight current Internet trends and makes a story that looks dangerous, thrilling, and fun at the same time. My review is on Nerve starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco. Let’s get started

 

The GOOD

  • Fun Adventure
  • Great Acting
  • Decent Story

 

When I saw the trailer, I though the movie was going to be more of a serious thriller. Thankfully, I’m very pleased to report Nerve is a very fun movie filled with excitement, energy, and adventure. Our two heroes start their night out performing tasks and stunts that we only dream of performing (for the most part). The dares from the anonymous Watchers are diverse, but mostly remain grounded in the realistic zone. While certainly stupid, and often quite dangerous, our actors looked liked they were enjoying themselves as they became lost in the moment. As a result, I couldn’t help but get reeled into the moments with them and enjoyed the fun atmosphere it painted.

But then like any good movie, the tone switches and soon the fun evening out develops into something much tenser. Multiple tiers begin to form as the mystery unfolds as to what our couple has fallen into. The story takes multiple turns that leads to some decent character development that fits in well with the overall plot. As more secrets are uncovered, the intensity only builds up until it hits a cheesy, overdramatic fight that is both eye rolling and well done at the same time. Nevertheless, the tale takes a few good twists and plays out in a very morale heavy ending. Pay attention and you can see most of the twists coming. Pay really good attention and the audience may learn something that might save the Internet. Again the story is fun, but the twists help save it from becoming another teenage dramedy filled with thrills, chills, and laughs on the way.

And to play out this story is none other than two talented actors who truly brought what looked to be simple characters to life. Emma Roberts portrayal of Venus (yeah interesting name) was fantastic, developing over the course of the film alongside her character. She brought both beauty and emotion to the role and was certainly a fantastic protagonist to follow on this ninety minute journey. Dave Franco as “Ian” was a wonderful counter character who had poise, pizazz, and a sense of suave that was very welcoming. It’s amazing what you can see actors do when they don’t act like idiots (aka Neighbors). Franco’s dynamic acting helped keep his character fun, but also stays in the dark, brooding side that reels you in. The supporting cast was wonderful too, but we need to move onto the limiting factors of this movie.

 

The BAD

  • Not as suspenseful/thrilling as portrayed
  • A few character building moments are rushed
  • A plot point that was kind of worthless

 

Yes I had fun, and the plot did grow darker, but the suspense was much more dilute than the trailers promised. The Watchers certainly were powerful (we are talking well versed in the art of hacking), but their power wasn’t used to its full potential. This mass media entertainment was a bit underwhelming though, whose bark was worse than their bite. I was expecting such expert computer users to lob more threats at the duo, or perhaps pursue them in some Purge like manner. Instead, they chose to use phones as their weapons and film everything that was happening. Sure the phone angle provided some interesting shots and allowed for integration of famous accidents.

In addition, there were some character development moments that also were a bit underdone. Ian himself has a traumatic past, and you would think facing his fears would have a bit more I don’t know struggle to it. Instead, his challenges were a bit blown over, washed away in a fast pace that could have been more. Fortunately Venus’s drama has more gusto behind it and her obstacles require more bravado to overcome. Unfortunately, she has some plot points that were practically worthless despite the setup at the beginning of the movie. There were few explanations to some of the family dynamics, the struggle for choosing a school wasn’t as big an issue, and her introverted nature disappeared rather quickly. Oh well, at least we got plenty of fun thrills and a good morale lesson right?

 

The VERDICT

 

Despite the shortcoming, Nerve is definitely one of the more fun and thrilling adventures I have seen in a long time. The dynamic duo of Roberts and Franco are the shining factor for this reviewer, who really brought the energetic fun vibe to the screen. In addition the multiple levels of the plot also made for some engaging moments, and some rather suspenseful moments. Sure there are some missing/blown over moments, but for the most part this adventure gets a seal of approval for unique fun. Worth a trip to theater? I’m going to have to say yes it is.

 

My scores:

Adventure/Crime/Mystery: 8.5

Movie Overall: 8.0