When filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman blew the world of pop documentaries wide open with 2010’s Catfish, they didn’t just create an engaging film, they created a slang term and a cottage industry thanks to MTV’s spinoff series. I’m not sure they can turn their upcoming project into a phenomenon, but then the Internet is a weird place. Lionsgate has signed the duo to helm an adaptation of Jeanne Ryan’s suspense-filled young adult novel Nerve, with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s Allison Shearmur linked up as a producer. I guess we should imagine a sizable budget attached to this one.
Published in the summer of 2012 by Penguin’s Dial Books, Nerve tells the story of a girl named Vee who gets caught up in the online reality-based game NERVE, which is essentially a high-stakes form of truth-or-dare with a stranger. Only the game itself seems to know what Vee is thinking, and who she is interested in. And as she becomes more popular – as the bizarre competitions are being watched and voted on by spectators dubbed "Watchers" – the game gets even more intense, and she finds her personality pushed to its limits and dangerous things happen. You know how things go on the Internet.
According to THR, the screenplay was written by Jessica Sharzer, who is best known for writing episodes of FX’s American Horror Story, for which she served as an executive producer this last season. If any form of media smashes up the macabre and the insane better than AHS, I have no idea what it is. Maybe such surreal twists won’t have a place in the increasingly intense world of cinematic e-dares, but it wouldn’t hurt.
This potentially has box office smash written all over it, assuming it isn’t severely mishandled like their Internet-themed last film, Paranormal Activity 4, which was one of my least favorite films of all time. (Though I dug their third entry in that series.) Check out the trailer below if you need a nap.
It doesn’t sound like Nerve will be next on their list, as they’re currently in pre-production for a Blumhouse Productions/The Weinstein Company co-production that is currently untitled. They’re also attached to adapt Edward Abbey’s 1975 novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, but who knows when that’ll be made either.
I actually hadn’t heard of Nerve before now, so I can’t speak to how it might work as a film or who might be best for portraying Vee. Let us know in the comments if this sounds like a good idea or not.