Austin-based Drafthouse Films has bought all U.S. rights, with a theatrical commitment to 20 markets, to E.L. Katz’s feature bow “Cheap Thrills,” which world preemed Friday at the Alamo Ritz in South By Southwest’s Midnighter strand. This marks the first deal of the film festival.

The deal was negotiated by James Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse and Submarine’s Josh Braun and David Koh on behalf of the filmmakers.

The low-budget horror pic received an over-the-top aud response to a story that steadily rachets up the grotesque as a pair of old friends (Pat Healy, Ethan Embry) reunite over drinks and befriend a bored, wealthy couple (Sara Paxton, David Koechner) who dare them to play a bizarre game of oneupmanship. A buzz screening was added Sunday morning.

Pic is produced by Travis Stevens, Gabriel Cowan and John Suits. Gena Wilbur and Curtis Raines are exec producers.