Sundance Channel has acquired U.S. broadcast rights to critically-acclaimed French supernatural drama “The Returned.”

The U.S. channel will premiere the series on Halloween night. Chicago-based distributor Music Box has skedded a VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray roll-out in January.

Repped in international markets by Zodiak Rights, “The Returned” was commissioned and co-developed by French paybox Canal Plus for nearly five years before being greenlit.  France’s first fantasy series, “The Returned” was a gamble for the Gallic cabler but it proved a successful: It scored the highest ratings for a French-language skein. It also garnered healthy ratings on Channel 4 in the U.K..

A contempo twist of classic zombie skeins based on Robin Campillo’s “Les Revenants,” “The Returned” is set in a mysterious mountain town where a seemingly random collection of people attempt to regain their homes and reclaim their lives without realizing that they’ve been dead for years. Their arrival coincides with a series of gruesome murders which bear resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past.

“We decided to take zombies to a new and utterly original level— we made them French!” stated Sarah Barnett, President of Sundance Channel. “‘The Returned’ is smart entertainment that shocks and entertains at every turn. We think our audience will love how this series grounds the supernatural in deeply human emotions.”

Added the series’ producer Caroline Benjo, “Sundance Channel represents a landmark in independent programming, airing bold and innovative TV projects from all over the world. We couldn’t have dreamt being in better hands.”

The show was created by Fabrice Gobert, whose debut feature, “Lights Out,” bowed at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. It’s produced by Benjo, Jimmy Desmarais and Carole Scotta at Haut et Court, the company behind Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or-winning “The Class” and Audrey Tautou starrer.

Cast includes bigscreen talents Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Celine Sallette, Guillaume Gouix, Frederic Pierrot and Samir Guesmi.

Canal Plus has ordered a second season which is currently in development.