The Toronto Film Festival doesn’t start until next week, but the market at the Canadian gathering is already heating up.
AMC Networks’ Shudder struck early, nabbing North American, U.K., Ireland and Australian rights to “Revenge,” a thriller about a woman who exacts bloody vengeance on her attackers. The film will play theatrically in early 2018. It will also be available on Shudder, which is a video streaming service that specializes in horror and suspense programming. It debuts at the festival, and the bidding on the picture was said to be competitive.
“Revenge” marks French director Coralie Fargeat’s feature film debut. Shudder says Fargeat “reframes the genre’s typical proclivities with a gaze that scrutinizes male bodies and foregrounds its protagonist’s transformation into a hardened vehicle of vengeance.” In other words, it sounds like “Revenge” is interjecting a welcome female perspective on a type of film that too often features women as powerless victims.
The film follows Jen (Matilda Lutz) on vacation at a remote desert villa with her millionaire boyfriend (Kevin Janssens). Their romantic weekend goes off the rails when her lover’s hunting pals show up on the scene, triggering a wave of violence.
The Toronto Film Festival is best known as a platform for Oscar hopefuls to try to raise their awards profile. This year’s edition will include the likes of Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing” and Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” all of which are on the prowl for gold for their mantles. But the festival is also a place for studios to buy films such as “Revenge” that are looking for distribution.
Shudder may be an active buyer at this year’s gathering. The service, which is subscription based, has been picking up a number of projects in recent months. The company has nabbed rights to Stefan Ruzowitzky’s thriller “Cold Hell,” Graham Skipper’s sci-fi romance “Sequence Break,” Joe Lynch’s violent corporate satire “Mayhem,” and Chris Peckover’s darkly comic “Better Watch Out.” It is also backing a slate of original programming that includes “Riprore” with “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins attached, and “Primal Screen” a documentary from Rodney Ascher (“Room 237”).
Shudder memberships run for $4.99 a month or $49.99 for a year.
“Coralie’s take on the vengeance motif is so refreshing, it revitalizes the genre as a whole,” Aurelie de Troyer, Shudder’s vice president of global acquisitions, said in a statement. “With films like ‘Revenge,’ young French filmmakers are bringing in a new wave of genre movies and we’re thrilled that Coralie’s has found a home with Shudder.”
“As a true fan of genre films, I am extremely proud that my first feature is being released by Shudder,” Fargeat said in a statement. “Having the support of such an impressive new player within the genre space will help the film find an enthusiastic and passionate audience.”
Shudder brokered the deal with Carole Baraton, who represented Charades.