DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Shudder has come aboard Jenn Wexler’s 1970s supernatural horror film The Sacrifice Game, starring Mena Massoud (Aladdin), Olivia Scott Welch (Fear Street), Gus Kenworthy (American Horror Story: 1984) and Chloë Levine (The OA), which is heading into production next week. AMC Networks’ premium streamer for genre fare now holds all rights to the film in its territories, with Red Sea Media, Inc. having acquired international rights.
Wexler’s second feature following the 2018 horror film The Ranger (which was also distributed by Shudder) is set at a girls’ boarding school over Christmas break, 1971. It centers on Samantha and Clara, two students staying behind for the holidays, who must survive the night against uninvited visitors. Derek Johns (The Wolf and the Lion), Laurent Pitre (Under the Banner of Heaven), Madison Baines (1UP) and newcomer Georgia Acken will round out the cast.
Wexler and Sean Redlitz wrote the script. Wexler, Philip Kalin-Hajdu, Albert I. Melamed, Heather Buckley, and Todd Slater (King of Killers) of Slater Brothers Entertainment will produce, with Roman Kopelevich and Crystal Hill of Red Sea Media, Inc., Peter Phok, Mark Berry and Duane Farley of AMG, Massoud and Welch serving as executive producers. Post house Real by Fake (The Morning Show) is also on board, with Marc Côté executive producing and Yannick Sadler co-producing.
“I am extremely excited to be working with this incredible cast and to be partnering again with Shudder and with RSM,” said Wexler. “The Sacrifice Game is my tribute to the beauty and boldness of ’70s horror, anchored in an unlikely friendship between outsiders.”
“After years working in genre, it is a highlight to be making a Shudder original with this film. Wexler’s thrilling vision pulled us in from the start,” said producers Kalin-Hajdu and Melamed in a joint statement. “We have never seen Mena Massoud and Olivia Scott Welch in roles like these and we can’t wait to share it with the world. We are grateful to be working with Shudder and RSM.”
“I loved this script – it reminded me of the classic horror films of the 70’s,” said Red Sea Media’s CEO, Kopelevich.
“We loved The Ranger and are thrilled to be working with Jenn and her team to bring her new film, The Sacrifice Game, to life,” added Shudder General Manager, Craig Engler. “Jenn’s film promises to be a wild and thrilling ride that offers a fresh take on timeless horror themes. We can’t wait to share it with our members.”
Shudder has also recently acquired titles including Rob Jabbaz’s zombie pic The Sadness, Vincent Grashaw’s Southern Gothic horror What Josiah Saw, and VFX legend Phil Tippett’s experimental animated pic Mad God, among others.
Red Sea Media was founded in 2011 as a sales agent and production company. Recent films include King of Killers, with Frank Grillo and Stephen Dorff; Banshee, starring Antonio Banderas; The Survivalist, starring John Malkovich and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; and Rogue Hostage, with Malkovich and Tyrese Gibson. RSM’s slate also includes the action-thriller Born a Champion, starring Dennis Quaid; Where Are You, starring Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Madeline Brewer; Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre, starring Randy Couture; Bad Therapy, starring Alicia Silverstone; and Stray Dolls, starring Cynthia Nixon and Olivia DeJonge.
Slater Brothers Entertainment’s recent films include King of Killers, Albatross, The Deep Web, Odd Man Rush, Ragged Heart, Last Three Days, She’s In Portland, Darker the Lake, Miracle on 4th Street and the upcoming Code Red: Youth of A Nation. The company recently launched their SBE financing division and will be producing a dramatic television series to be shot in Europe later this year.
VP, Global Acquisitions & Co-Productions Emily Gotto negotiated the deal for The Sacrifice Game on behalf of Shudder, with Kalin-Hajdu and Melamed on behalf of the filmmakers. Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment brokered the filmmakers’ deal with Red Sea Media. Massoud is represented by Gersh, Link Entertainment and Myman Greenspan Fox; Welch by UTA, Vault Entertainment and attorney Larry Kopeikin; Kenworthy is by WME, Sugar23 and Michael Spencer; Levine by APA and Anthony & Associates; and Wexler by CAA and Hitman Studios.