AMC Networks’ horror streaming service Shudder has bought the new horror noir “Perpetrator,” written and directed by Jennifer Reeder (“Knives and Skin”). This sale comes as the movie is set for a world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2023. It will make its debut in the Panorama section.
“Perpetrator” stars Kiah McKirnan (“Mare of Easttown”), Christopher Lowell (“My Best Friend’s Exorcism”), Melanie Liburd (“The Idol”), Ireon Roach (2021’s “Candyman” remake), and Alicia Silverstone (“Clueless”). Gregory Chambet for WTFilms and Derek Bishé for Divide/Conquer will serve as producers.
The film tells the story of Jonny Baptiste (McKirnan). She is a reckless teen sent to live with her estranged Aunt Hildie (Silverstone). On her 18th birthday, Jonny experiences a radical metamorphosis caused by a family spell known as the Forevering. When several teen girls go missing, Jonny must unlock her newfound power to go after the Perpetrator. The film takes inspiration from the shared experience of generations of women and is an exploration of youthful chaos. “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,’” says Chambet. And all of the aforementioned titles certainly explore women’s experiences and the chaos of youth/femininity.
“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.”
“Perpetrator” is Reeder’s third collaboration with Shudder, they previously partnered on “Night’s End,” starring Michael Shannon. She also wrote a directed the critically acclaimed “Holy Hell” entry in the horror anthology “V/H/S/94.” “Our third collaboration with Jennifer is her boldest, most exhilarating yet,” Shudder said in a statement about the acquisition. “‘Perpetrator’ is a wild coming of age tale, and we’re thrilled to continue to support a director like no other.”
There is currently no wide release date set for “Perpetrator.” We’ll let you know what we hear about this and other news.