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A teen lands in a dangerous game in "Nerve," a glossy thriller about high stakes in the online world.

Emma Roberts plays Vee (short for Venus), a mousy high-school senior who is goaded by her outgoing best friend, Sydney (Emily Meade), to try an online game called Nerve. In the game, one chooses to be a "watcher" or a "player" — with players dared to perform outrageous and potentially deadly acts, racking up legions of watchers who vote on the next challenge. Once Vee clicks the "player" button, the game mines her internet history to use against her and sets her on a path to encounter Ian (Dave Franco), a studly fellow player.

Screenwriter Jessica Sharzer adapts Jeanne Ryan's YA novel into an economical thriller that escalates the tension with each dare, and the directing team of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman ("Paranormal Activity 3" and "4") employ a flashy, graphics-heavy approach that neatly emulates a video game.

The movie falls apart in the second half, bogged down in computer-hacker mumbo-jumbo and a heavy-handed message about the insidious effect of anonymous online users.


Opens Wednesday, July 27, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity - all involving teens; 96 minutes.