This week, V/H/S: Viral made its home entertainment debut on Blu-ray and DVD and to mark the occasion, Daily Dead recently had the opportunity to chat with Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, two of the filmmakers involved with the latest installment of the anthology franchise. The writing/directing duo collaborated on “Bonestorm”, their badass action-infused tale of horror in which a group of skaters must fight off evil forces who attack them while they’re in Tijuana checking out a new skate area that harbors a supernatural secret.

Congrats on “Bonestorm” – it was easily my favorite segment and I thought it showed off a completely different side to you guys as filmmakers. Coming into a third film in a successful franchise must be a little tough – was there any kind of pressure on you guys to keep the V/H/S legacy going in Viral?

Justin Benson: You know, there’s always pressure with anything that you do creatively, so yeah, we did feel it a bit. It was mostly due to the fact that when we made ”Bonestorm”, we didn’t have a ton of money to use, so we had to call in some really big favors with a lot of people and if we screwed this up, we were gonna have a lot of people who were going to hate us.

You both know how much I loved Resolution, but that’s a much deeper and emotional project than this – was it cool to just get out there and have some fun by making something completely different with “Bonestorm?”

Aaron Moorhead: Partially, I’d say. This ended up being such a straightforward, simple POV project that celebrated these awesome skater kids and because both Resolution and our next film, Spring, are these very cerebral and emotionally resonant kinds of stories, making this was an opportunity to have some fun with a story about these kids who were just so honest and real that it ended up being a really special experience for all of us.

It also gave us a chance to do something that was way more action-driven, which was a lot of fun too.

Justin Benson: We think of it sort of like a low-budget horror version of Mortal Kombat meets Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Call of Duty.

Because you shot this on GoPros, how much did you guys have to change up your shooting style and how difficult was it making sure you got all the amazing shots, since it’s not a camera with a traditional display?

Justin Benson: Well, we used 12 different cameras, so it was just a case of us having to hope we were getting everything we were going to need. That being said, “Bonestorm” was a very specifically shot project for us and we even storyboarded out most of those key shots. One of the very first shots we came up with when we were conceiving the concept was a skater kid riding his skateboard with a GoPro on it and then he has to use it as a sword to beat down some skeletons. We just thought that image would be so fucking cool.

Being able to shoot action, though, was really cool because our other two movies are more conversationally-driven, so we didn’t get those kinds of crazy opportunities on Resolution or Spring that we did while working on this. That being said, one of the most magical things we ended up shooting was that scene with those two guys just sitting there, talking and being normal kids. What it ended up being was two people finding a moment and not even realizing it – we were shooting them while they were sitting there, just chilling and talking and they didn’t even realize we were recording. I think we surprised them, too, but it ended up being one of the most exciting moments for me while we were in production.

Aaron Moorhead: Yeah, and we were the ones getting a lot of those shots too; we had to fake a lot of those moments, but it really worked. It was complicated and we weren’t really ever sure if what we got would end up working, but then we’d take a look at stuff later on and it was awesome. Because we had planned this out, we couldn’t just let the kids do all the shooting so at times, we’d hop on a board and start shooting stuff. We also had a couple of master cameras, too, that made sure we were getting everything.

Let’s talk about the kids in this for a moment, because they were so great and felt like kids you’d see hanging around your neighborhood – did you guys do any kind of special casting for these roles?

Aaron Moorhead: These kids were so cool – I always thought I was kind of cool, but after hanging out with these 19-year-old skaters, I realized just how not cool I really am [laughs]. They even drove out for Fantastic Fest and I think they did that drive in something like 22 hours, only stopping once because they saw a cool skate park on the way and wanted to check it out.

Justin Benson: We knew we weren’t going to be able to do a traditional casting breakdown in L.A. because we knew everybody was going to think they could skate, but in reality, they just learned how to skate like two hours before the audition. We needed this to feel real, so that would have been useless. Whoever we were going to cast had to be high-performance skaters, so Aaron and I split up and went to a bunch of skate parks and just watched kids skating and took their pictures.

Aaron Moorhead: Yeah, we would just be watching everyone and figured out which ones had personality and the skills we were looking for. Then, we’d go up to them and tell them we wanted them to audition for a movie, which was kind of a little weird [laughs], but for the most part, everyone was pretty cool with us even if we seemed kind of creepy when we were approaching them about taking their pictures and getting their phone numbers [laughs].

We also went to some skate shops and asked them to send some of their best skaters our way and then we had an audition day. We wanted them to be natural, so basically, we just asked them to skate around and we asked them questions about normal stuff. Even though some of “Bonestorm” has that improv feel to it, we were thinking naturalism more so than improvisation.

What I really enjoyed about this segment was that I felt like there was a lot more to the idea behind the monsters than what we end up seeing in the film – did you guys put together a whole mythology behind these entities at all? Because I absolutely could have watched a feature-length version of this.

Aaron Moorhead: We never really thought about a feature, but the one thing we did talk about was this bigger mythology that is definitely out there. There are some keys to these creatures, especially in their movements and the way they act, that gives you an idea of just what they are, but more so that’s all just our way of suggesting that these things are supernaturally-driven and the rest is up to the audience.


  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.