"Okay, Uber SERIOUSLY has to tighten their screening process."


"Okay, Uber SERIOUSLY has to tighten their screening process."

NERVE

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. DINER

TWENTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD EMMA ROBERTS is hanging out with her best friend TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD EMILY MEADE after HIGH SCHOOL, which they ATTEND, as STUDENTS.

EMMA ROBERTS

Sigh, I loathe myself. I’m such a coward I can’t even tell my mom I want to go to art school in California. I wish I was daring like you, who mooned everyone at a pep rally today. If only I too could get suspended from school, get photos of my naked ass spread all over the internet, and generally act like an irresponsible fuckwit!

EMILY MEADE

I had to do that as part of the annual online competition, Nerve. It’s a game where dares get sent to your phone, and you have to head out and rob police officers and leap into fires and all kinds of crazy shit. It’s basically like Pokémon Go for meth heads.

EMMA ROBERTS

I somehow have never heard of this PG-13 version of The Purge. It sounds really illegal.

EMILY MEADE

Oh pshh, only one person has died doing it, as unlikely as the rest of the movie will make that seem, and even that’s just a rumor, despite the fact that live video footage of it was streamed around the world. Besides, the game runners are untraceable, so the cops can’t shut it down.

EMMA ROBERTS

Um, yes the fuck they can. The game runners might be anonymous, but the players are continually streaming updates on their location and what illegal activities they’re about to do. Call me crazy, but if all the players were arrested I think the game would be pretty effectively shut down.

EMILY MEADE

You’re just jealous because you’d never have the guts to play the game yourself! You’re a total spineless yellow-bellied coward and you will never do anything bold or brave in your entire pathetic life. I am your best friend, and I am telling you this, to your face.

EMMA ROBERTS

Well fuck you, I’m going to go home and join the game right now! Yes, the inciting incident for this entire movie boils down to my friend saying “bok-bok-bruuuuk”.

EMMA goes home and signs up with NERVE as a PLAYER.

EMMA ROBERTS

There, and now to let them access all my social media accounts and private digital information, which I was told would happen before I signed up. I’m getting better at being an irresponsible moron already!

INT. RESTAURANT

EMMA goes out to await her first DARE, accompanied by her friend-slash-stalker MILES HEIZER.

EMMA ROBERTS

It says I’m supposed to make out with a stranger for five seconds. Okay, sexual assault it is!

MILES HEIZER

You’re on a time limit, so don’t get too fussy about which stranger. There, just grab that old fat guy.

EMMA ROBERTS

Yes, that’s logical course of action. I mean I guess I could take an extra ten seconds to do a single lap of this restaurant just in case there’s somebody non-repulsive around, but I doubt-

(turns head five degrees to the left)

Oh look, Dave Franco!

She goes and sits down next to DAVE FRANCO.

EMMA ROBERTS

“Hi, mind if I kiss you? It’s for a dare,” she could have said but didn’t.

(seizes his lips)

There, I did it! And look, now a hundred bucks has been put in my account, woot!

MILES HEIZER

When you signed up for the game they automatically got your banking details? Does that not strike you as a touch shady?

EMMA ROBERTS

Of course if I don’t go all the way and win the competition outright, I’ll lose all the money I’ve already gotten and it’ll all be for nothing.

MILES HEIZER

You mean they also have the ability to TAKE MONEY OUT of your account?! How the hell is this not ringing any alarm bells?

DAVE FRANCO

Hey, as it happens I’m also a player, and now I’ve been dared to take you into New York City.

EMMA ROBERTS

Similarly, I’ve been dared to go into the city with you, some guy I don’t know! Geez, being alone in the city at night with a strange boy is pretty fucking risky. But it’s the only way to continue the game, so I gotta roll with it!

MILES HEIZER

Actually there’s nothing about the dare that says we can’t all three of us go in my car-

EMMA ROBERTS

LATER, LOSER!

(jumps on Dave’s motorcycle)

EMMA and DAVE ride into the CITY.

DAVE FRANCO

Well, dare completed! Now I’ll just abandon you, I guess, which is pointless considering the dare we each get in ten seconds will team us back up again.

(leaves)

EMMA’S PHONE dares her to go into a FANCY CLOTHING STORE and try on a GREEN DRESS.

EMMA ROBERTS

Okay, seriously, these are the dares I’m getting? Kiss a cute boy? Take a ride on his motorcycle? Try on a pretty dress? Who’s choosing these cheating, easy-as-fuck challenges for me?

DAVE FRANCO

(arrives)

The viewers are! These dares are streamed live, and we’re ranked according to how many watchers we have, see, and those watchers get to suggest and then vote on what dares we get.

EMMA ROBERTS

The internet is picking my dares? Yeah, I don’t think so. With all due respect to the denizens of the internet, if they were in charge of my dares then right now I’d be buck naked with a shaved head and a live parrot up my ass, chugging a smoothie made from stinkbugs and my own poop.

DAVE FRANCO

Well at times the dares are carefully orchestrated according to all that hacked information the game runners have on you, which suggests that they’re choosing your dares, even though we claim the other thing? Basically the rules for this game are whatever they need to be for whichever scene we happen to be doing at the time.

EMMA and DAVE try on some REALLY EXPENSIVE CLOTHES. But then when they get back to their DRESSING ROOMS it turns out that some OTHER PLAYERS have stolen all their STUFF, including their REGULAR CLOTHES.

EMMA ROBERTS

Fuck, and we’ve been dared to leave the store in the next two minutes! We can’t shoplift these clothes! We’ll just have to strip to our underwear and try and get out of the store without being noticed.

DAVE FRANCO

Great! Then we’ll just be stranded on the streets of NYC in our underwear without phones or money or identification, no problems there!

They STRIP DOWN and hurry OUT OF THE STORE. Fortunately when they get to the MOTORCYCLE, they find all their STUFF has been placed there, including the FANCY CLOTHES.

DAVE FRANCO

Oh neat, some other player must have been dared to get this stuff for us. There’s even a receipt with the fancy clothes, so we don’t have to worry about some rich, insured store being robbed of their goods! Just some asshole player’s parents finding a hole in their credit card to the tune of several thousand dollars, possibly crippling them financially.

EMMA ROBERTS

Wait, WAIT a minute! Are you saying that when the game runners saw that we were going to be leaving the clothes behind, they sent a dare to another player who just happened to be right outside the store already; then that player sprinted in, got up to the third floor dressing rooms, grabbed those fancy clothes, took them down to the register and paid for them, got them out to this bike, and ran off, all in the ninety seconds it took us to get out of there?

DAVE FRANCO

I know, right? Personally I think Quicksilver should have been disqualified from competing in the first place.

INT. MILES’S HOUSE

MILES HEIZER

Meanwhile I don’t trust this Dave guy, because I’m concerned about Emma’s safety and TOTALLY NOT because I don’t want him macking on the girl I’m creepily possessive towards!

(gets on computer)

I’ll see what I can find out on the dark web. See, we’re claiming that ninety percent of the internet is secret illegal sites regular people can’t access, which is an intriguing premise until I demonstrate that you get onto this dark web by typing in “drkwb.com”. Ugh.

(typity type type)

Oh my God! There are people on here talking about how Dave competed in Nerve already last year, and he and some testosterone-addled douche named Colson Baker were there when that kid fell to his death!

(pause)

Since that happened on live video in front of thousands of viewers just a year ago, why the fuck did I need to go to the secret crime internet to find out about it?

EXT. NEW YORK CITY

EMMA has just successfully completed her dare of getting a SYMBOLIC TATTOO, and now DAVE is getting his NEXT DARE.

DAVE FRANCO

Gasp! They want me to put on a blindfold and get my motorcycle up to sixty miles per hour! ...Sixty miles per hour on the streets of New York City. Oh sure. After that do you want me to swallow the Empire State Building, assholes?

(sighs)

Fine then, I’ll give it a shot. What do I have that I can use as a blindfold-

SOME GUY

(showing up)

Here, put this sticker on the visor of your helmet. And that’s my dare complete. I’m sure my watchers were on the edge of their seats seeing if I would go through with the epic challenge of handing a guy a thing.

EMMA ROBERTS

Hey yeah, it’s not like Dave and I have been made to help out on anybody else’s dares. Is this really a popularity competition where the game runners can force less popular players to help more popular players become even more popular? This thing is rigged as FUCK.

INT. PARTY

EMILY is out getting TOTES DRUNK despite the fact that at any moment she could be dared to do basically ANYTHING, when she sees videos of DAVE and EMMA racing blindly through the streets.

EMILY MEADE

Damnit, according to this video being streamed from the nonexistent camera hovering in front of Dave’s face, Emma’s got more watchers than me! IRRATIONAL JEALOUS RAGE! SOMEBODY GET ME A DECENT DARE, NOW!

INTERNET IDIOTS

Okay, we’ve put a ladder between this tenth-story window and one in the next building over, we dare you to walk across it like a bridge.

EMILY MEADE

Yes! A dare perfect for a drunk girl too stupid to take off her six-inch platform shoes!

She goes out on the LADDER and starts tiptoeing across whilst FREAKING OUT.

DRUNK PARTYGOER

But Emily wait, you have to film the dare with your own phone or it doesn’t count! That’s one of the rules!

EMILY MEADE

Oh yeah, it is, isn’t it? Then why the fuck wasn’t Emma disqualified ages ago? She didn’t even HAVE her phone when she ran out of that store in her underwear.

EMILY tries to TIGHTROPE-WALK and FILM IT at the SAME TIME, but drops her phone! Defeated, she returns to the PARTY, where EMMA and DAVE have just arrived.

EMILY MEADE

Emma, you BITCH! On your video feed I heard you insulting me behind my back! You should have the decency to insult your best friend directly to her face, like I do!

EMMA ROBERTS

You saw that? Wait, so the players’ phones stream live footage automatically for the entire duration of the game? For like TWELVE HOURS without running the battery dry?! Where did we get these phones, the year 2097?

(shrugs)

Oh well, who cares, I’ve outgrown you. In fact, I’ve just been dared to finish your ladder walk, which I will immediately do whilst once again blatantly not filming myself.

She briskly walks across the LADDER.

EMMA ROBERTS

Nyah! I succeeded where you failed, which had nothing to do with the fact that I am sober and wearing sane shoes, and everything to do with the fact that YOU are the one of us who is really a coward! TAKE THAT!

EMILY MEADE

Oh shut up, we established that I have a specific fear of heights. You getting all smug right now is like if you claimed you were braver than someone with a deadly peanut allergy because you ate a pound of Reese’s Pieces.

MILES HEIZER

(running in)

Emma! I’ve found out you can’t trust Dave! Not only was he there when that kid died last year, also he deliberately brought you to this party to goad you into that catfight, because he was dared to!

EMMA ROBERTS

WHAT?! This game is sick! I was fine with it stealing all my personal information, streaming footage of me without my knowledge or consent, and continually pressuring me into risking my life, but TELLING A GUY I JUST MET TO LIE TO ME? That’s crossing a line! I’m gonna tell the cops.

GAME RUNNERS

Gasp, she’s gonna tell the cops about Nerve! We can’t let her give them all the information that’s readily available on our website! Seize her, minions who have I guess been hovering near Emma this whole time ready to abduct her at a moment’s notice!

EMMA is chloroformed and hauled away.

INT. SHIPPING CRATE

EMMA wakes up inside a SHIPPING CRATE at the DOCKS, with a DIGITAL MESSAGE from the GAME RUNNERS.

GAME RUNNERS

(on cheesy video)

Since you tried to rat us out, we will now use internet hacking to ruin and control your life, since we’re apparently the bad guys from the nonsensical Sandra Bullock thriller The Net.

EMMA gets out of the CRATE and meets with DAVE.

DAVE FRANCO

Sorry I lied to you, I tried to rat them out after that kid died last year and became a prisoner of the game like you are now. But good news, if a prisoner wins then all is forgiven and they stop trying to ruin your life.

EMMA ROBERTS

So one minute they’re all “YOU TRAITOR WE PUNISH YOU”, but if I just complete a couple more dares then suddenly it’s “Aw nevermind, we cool, have a hundred grand”?

DAVE FRANCO

Come on, you can’t still be holding out for some kind of logical consistency in this idiotic movie.

EMMA ROBERTS

All right, you go off and get yourself into the final dare, while I go make up with that mega-bitch Emily and devise a plan to bring down this game once and for all.

DAVE FRANCO

How the hell do you secretly devise plans against people who are constantly watching live footage of you?

EMMA ROBERTS

Presumably I put my phone far away from me while I scheme. Also presumably the game runners don’t find this incredibly suspicious or anything.

EXT. ARENA

For their final dare, EMMA and DAVE have been instructed to enter an ARENA armed with GUNS.

GAME RUNNERS

And now whoever shoots each other first wins.

EMMA ROBERTS

Well THAT escalated quickly! How the hell is this snuff movie shit anything to do with the game we’ve been playing up until now?

COLSON BAKER

(running in waving a gun)

These guys are too chickenshit to shoot each other! Hi, I’m a player who was already eliminated from this game, and I’d like to kill Emma please.

GAME RUNNERS

All right watchers, vote to decide whether Colson kills Emma.

EMMA ROBERTS

OH COME ON THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING!! I know this game hasn’t been super clear about the rules, but now we’re just throwing any remaining hint of coherence out the-

(shot)

Suddenly everybody WATCHING gets messages accusing them of being ACCESSORIES TO MURDER.

INTERNET IDIOTS

OH SHIT! Let’s all delete our Nerve accounts in a panic, literally every last one of us, because if there’s one thing you can count on from a horde of ADHD-addled social media junkies, it’s for them to agree with each other about something!

With all their users GONE, NERVE is ended. Then EMMA pops up back alive!

EMMA ROBERTS

Surprise, this was my scheme! I got Miles to do some cheesy hacker stuff to send that message out, and got Emily to contact Colson here, because she got his phone number in an earlier scene that I had absolutely no way of knowing about!

COLSON BAKER

And I showed up with a gun loaded with blanks, as per the plan, despite none of us having any way of knowing what the final dare was even going to be!

DAVE FRANCO

Wow. You’re SO lucky I didn’t murder you with my real, loaded gun when you were pretending to kill Emma.

EMMA ROBERTS

Either way, we win! We beat those bad guys who were never actually seen or named or defined in any way!

DAVE FRANCO

Yeah! Although they do get to keep the millions of dollars they made from paid watcher subscriptions.

EMMA ROBERTS

Um...

DAVE FRANCO

Besides, a bunch of the watchers know you personally. Won’t they leak the fact that you’re not really dead, thus undoing the impact of that whole murder accusation and allowing Nerve to just start over next year?

EMMA ROBERTS

Look dude, this was a piece of brainless fluff adapted from a cliché-riddled YA novel, just don’t think about it too much.

DAVE FRANCO

But that’s the thing, this could have been more than that! There were so many satirical points we could have made about the brief, shallow nature of internet fame. About destroying yourself in the pursuit of fleeting validation from a sea of strangers who act like they love you, but would just as happily watch you catch fire as long as it provided them another bite-sized morsel of entertainment!

EMMA ROBERTS

Oh yeah? You REALLY wanna see that? A satirical movie where Emma Roberts plays a girl going to insane extremes in order to become a fake celebrity? Then go watch-

DAVE FRANCO

(recoiling)

Scream 4! Ugh, forget I said anything.

END.

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