The directors, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, initially directed the 2010 documentary Catfish. Both of them were attracted to the idea of a film based on the internet and the consequences it imposes in today’s society. They understood that the “internet isn’t good nor bad; it just depends on how you use it” . The anonymity of the internet can be good and also create terrible things and these ideas were the foundation of Nerve. They wanted Nerve to be an empowering game but one of the most awful things you could imagine. Schulman says they initially wanted to predict slightly advanced technologies, but as they wrote the movie, they saw the advent of Periscope, an app allowing you to see the lives of other people live. They thought “this app is like half-way to being Nerve” . In the end, they created a movie with existing technology to showcase what it can do. Through the movie, they wanted to explore the issues of privacy and consent in the digital world. People don’t consider the consequences of hitting yes to a terms and conditions. Such as the case of Vee, Ian, and Sydney when signing up for Nerve.
Joost and Schulman made sure this movie had a PG-13 rating to allow teens to see it. They didn’t want a gross torture movie, they wanted a movie that everyone digged and watched until the end.