Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Nerve by Rob Simonsen (Review)

posted Aug 10, 2016, 8:36 PM by Kaya Savas

Nerve is one of those stylish high concept thrillers, and it revolves around an online game called Nerve. In this game you can pay money to watch people do risky dares, if they complete the dare they get the money. Our protagonists are played by Emma Roberts and Dave Franco who are brought together through the game. The two decide to keep on going deeper and raising the stakes as the dares get riskier. They soon realize they have become victims of identity fraud and that the game has taken over their lives. The synth-based 80’s inspired score is from Rob Simonsen who does an admirable job making his music sound unique to the film and himself even if the approach is a bit unfocused and derivative.

What Nerve gets right is that it immediately takes a bold stance on style and approach. Rob Simonsen is mostly known for indie dramas so it was cool to hear a different side of him here. It’s a very unique approach to the film for sure, because it’s a modern day set movie that is clearly aimed at younger millennials yet the aesthetic is not something you’d associate with today’s young adults. The style is definitely the draw here, which is perfectly fine. It’s a thriller, and it’s meant to be stylish. The music is very absorbing and melodic and it does a great job of holding your attention even if structurally it feels a bit unfocused. I’m sure the music will draw comparisons to Daft Punk, and rightfully so. In some cases you can pick up similar rhythms that are hard to ignore. For instance, track 2 here titled “Player” is very similar to “The Grid” from Tron: Legacy. What Simonsen does manage to do though is add his stylings and touches in interesting ways. The use of vocals here definitely are a highlight and somehow give this electro thriller a more grounded vibe. Anyway, if you can get past some structure issues and a style that is not wholly original or fresh you will indeed find an entertainingly immersive score.

Nerve works because it immerses you in the soundscape of the world. The stylistic choice to go with a “Daft Punk” sound will be the draw for sure, but Simonsen still maintains his voice as a composer in the music. I think more seasoned electronic composers like Cliff Martinez have a better handle of making a score like this work to picture, but it’s still an intoxicating soundscape to get lost in.