Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thrillers and content about the supernatural, has acquired Jennifer Reeder’s “Perpetrator.” The sale comes as the film is set to world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this February in the Panorama section.
“Perpetrator” stars Kiah McKirnan (“Mare of Easttown”), Christopher Lowell (“My Best Friend’s Exorcism”), Melanie Liburd (“The Idol”), Ireon Roach (“Candyman”), and Alicia Silverstone (“Clueless”). It is produced by Gregory Chambet for WTFilms and Derek Bishé for Divide/Conquer.
Written and directed by Reeder, “Perpetrator” follows Jonny (McKirnan), an impulsive teenage girl living in a town where young women continue to go missing, and revolves around the power she’s forced to unlock to survive. The filmmakers say that the film is “inspired by the shared experience of generations of women,” as well as an “exploration of youthful chaos.”
“Perpetrator” is Reeder’s second feature to screen at Berlinale following 2019’s “Knives and Skin,” which IFC Midnight released theatrically. It marks her third collaboration with Shudder, preceded by “Night’s End,” featuring Michael Shannon, and the critically acclaimed anthology entry “V/H/S/94.” Reeder was named one of “Parasite” filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s 20 upcoming directors for the 2020s, and her shorts and features have shown at festivals and museums around the world, including Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, The Whitney Biennial, and The Venice Biennale.
Of the acquisition Shudder said, “Our third collaboration with Jennifer is her boldest, most exhilarating yet. ‘Perpetrator’ is a wild coming of age tale, and we’re thrilled to continue to support a director like no other.”
“This is a significant moment for women working in genre films,” said Reeder. “Women are very well suited for horror in particular — we have a personal relationship to fear from a very young age, and are able to bleed for days and not die. This film in particular takes on the myth of the out-of-control teen girl — the wild child. In this story, she has agency in her lawlessness and embraces her abject nature. ‘Perpetrator’ is dark but feminine, a nuanced noir, a grrrl power take on modern horror.”
“When we started developing the movie, the idea was to walk in the footsteps of powerful female horror references such as ‘Cat People,’ ‘Carrie,’ and ‘Jennifer’s Body,’” said WTFilms’ co-founder, Gregory Chambet. “On ‘Perpetrator,’ everything gelled together perfectly: the unique voice of Jennifer, a breakthrough performance from Kiah, a great and surprising turn from Alicia, inspirational shots from our DP Sevdije Kastrati, and so much more. We assembled a dream team of partners with the strong know-how of Divide/Conquer, who have worked on numerous hit Blumhouse films, and the packaging talents of 30West. Shudder is the perfect home for our daring, bloody, and mysterious teenage tale and we can’t wait to share the movie with international distributors as well.”
Trevor Groth and Sarah Hong executive produced the film for 30West, along with Adam Hendricks and Greg Gilreath for Divide/Conquer, Dimitri Stephanides for WTFilms as well as Emily Gotto for Shudder.
WTFilms are handling sales on “Perpetrator” for all remaining territories, and will launch sales at EFM.
Reeder is represented by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.