Director Gustavo Hernandez Talks Reinventing Zombies for Shudder Film Virus :32


While there has been no shortage of zombie fiction in horror, Shudder’s new movie Virus :32 adds something unique to the genre. In the film, humans infected with a zombie-like virus become incredibly hostile, looking to harm anyone else they can get their hands on. After every vicious, violent attack, the zombies go docile for about 32 seconds before they can lash out again. Survivors will have to use these half-minute windows of opportunity to plot every next movie if they’re going to make it.

With the film now streaming, MovieWeb spoke with director Gustavo Hernandez on how Virus :32 came to be. Hernandez, whose other work includes the Cannes hit The Silent House (La casa muda), explained where the concept of the film came from along with how the rules for the Virus :32 zombies were established. He also teased the idea he had in mind for the potential sequel where the stakes will be even higher.


Virus :32 can be found streaming on Shudder. To read more about how it came to be, along with a potential follow-up to the film, you can check out our full interview with Hernandez below.

MovieWeb: Virus :32 adds something new to the genre with zombies needing a 32-second “recharging” period after attacks, giving survivors about a half-minute to plot their next moves. What inspired this unique concept, and why 32 seconds exactly?

GH: Several years ago, I felt that zombie movies had gotten a bit stagnant and repeated, so from the beginning of the project we wanted to bring something new to the genre. The first thing we did was design an infected person who had a hunter instinct, something wild and intelligent, but we needed a weakness and there arose the 32 seconds of lethargy after a volley of violence. We thought that 32 seconds were enough to escape from a complicated situation but also to maintain tension during that escape.

Related: Exclusive Clip: Zombies Go Docile for 32 Seconds at a Time in Shudder’s Virus :32

The Zombies in Virus :32 Take Inspiration from Animals

MW: Every zombie story has its own rules for how the infection works. The Virus :32 zombies are on the aggressive side, driven by violence and bloodshed more so than hunger. What was the creative process like in establishing the rules for these zombies?

GH: We wanted the zombies to be scary enough to work in different directions and scenarios, from quick, bestial attacks to finding the patience and tenacity to hunt their prey. We designed them as a mixture of animals, that was the starting point for creating our own rules.

MW: You’ve made your mark directing horror films, but zombie fiction is new territory. What were some of the biggest challenges in taking on a zombie movie?

GH: I was new to the zombie world, and that helped me manage myself with creative freedom. I was clear about what I didn’t want to do in this movie, but at the same time I wanted it to be framed in a world of zombies. That line was always a challenge, that the spectator also breathes something familiar and something new at the same time. On the other hand, I wanted to add layers, because the film happens in a moment of chaos, but it is a film that talks about the human links.

MW: Is there a particular moment in the film that you’re most proud of?

GH: The sequence shot of the beginning was a big challenge for production. It took a lot of work, but I think it introduces the viewer to the story in a great way.

Related: Aladdin’s Mena Massoud to Star in Shudder Horror Film The Sacrifice Game

Virus :32 Might Get a Sequel

MW: Do you see yourself returning to zombie horror in the future, or do you feel you’ve scratched that itch?

GH: Yes, I feel there is a lot more we can do to take advantage of these new rules we invented. We already have ideas of Virus :16, where the infected are evolving even more and the times of rest are shorter.

MW: What’s coming next for Gustavo Hernandez? Are there any other projects of yours in the works for fans to look forward to after checking out Virus :32?

GH: I’ve finished a police thriller that we shot in Spain called Lobo Feroz and am now working on a police series in Argentina. We also have some more ideas in the horror genre in the works for the US, let’s hope to see each other on the screen soon!

You can stream Virus :32 on Shudder and at Written and directed by Gustavo Hernandez, the film stars Paula Silva and Berlinale Silver Bear winner Daniel Hendler. It’s produced by Sebastián Aloi’s Aeroplano in Argentina and Hernández and Ignacio Garcia Cucucovich’s Mother Superior Films in Uruguay.


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