Director Ti West Aims for Mainstream With ‘Sacrament’

Backed by Eli Roth, Worldview Entertainment, IM Global, pic world preemed at Venice Film Fest

Backed by Eli Roth, Worldview Entertainment and IM Global, horror helmer Ti West looks set to make a move toward the mainstream with “The Sacrament,” which world preemed on the Lido.

Written by West, “The Sacrament” follows two journos shooting a doc about man’s attempt to locate his missing sister. They find her in a rural cult preparing for a mass suicide, and the trio are soon racing to escape with their lives.

Just 32, but now with six features under his belt, West established his genre credentials with fanboy faves “House of the Devil,” “Trigger Man” and “The Innkeepers.”

“Having made all types of supernatural horror films over the years, I really wanted to make something grounded in realism. Something confrontational. The approach is much grittier, more dramatic and emotional,” West said. “I want people to be frightened but also allow them to understand how and why the cult members’ lives would lead them to be a part of this community.”

Framed as a Vice Media travelogue and with a higher budget for West, “The Sacrament” is a “docu-style” movie, said Roth, who compared it to “The Last Exorcism.”

“ ‘The Sacrament’ is without question Ti West’s most commercial film to date,” said Christopher Woodrow at Worldview Entertainment, which produced and financed the film.

IM Global has held back on presales, CEO Stuart Ford said.

“We’re huge fans of Ti West — from the outset we thought ‘The Sacrament’ had the elements for a breakout. Pairing Eli (Roth) with him is an exciting idea for anyone who’s a connoisseur of genre movies,” Ford said.

He added IM Global’s genre division Octane is finding genre films attract more and more mainstream distribs and play to mainstream audiences around the world.

“Our sales and marketing team is constantly encouraging distributors to look at new genres. We live in a global industry where the traditional safety blankets of TV sales and DVD are getting thinner by the day.”

“Theatrical potential, and therefore real quality, is more important to buyers than ever. So the distributors who maybe bought horror successes like ‘Paranormal Activity,’ ‘Insidious’ or ‘Sinister’ from us might also invest in an urban horror comedy like ‘A Haunted House.’ ”

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