Netflix Sundance shopping spree continues with Iranian horror
James R | On 22, Jan 2016
Netflix’s Sundance shopping spree continues with another indie film in its basket: Iranian horror movie Under the Shadow.
The idea of a horror film entirely in Farsi might sound like an unexpected item in the VOD giant’s bagging area, but Under the Shadow is one of the most buzzed-about films of this year’s Sundance, a festival where everything is buzzed about.
The film, which premieres in tonight’s Midnight movie strand, takes place in wartime 1988 and follows Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), who start to believe their family home is haunted by djinn (evil spirits) that are trying to steal their most treasured possessions.
Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Babak Anvari – and produced by Lucan Toh, Oliver Roskill and Emily Leo of Wigwam Films – the film is already earning comparisons to The Babadook, reports Variety, and follows the success of Iranian vampire flick A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
Netflix’s deal has bagged it the worldwide streaming rights to the title, with a release date pencilled in for later this year. It’s the latest in a long line of purchase for the streaming site at Sundance – this year’s festival is barely a day old and it has already snapped up seven titles, including a record-breaking deal for The Fundamentals of Caring, starring Paul Rudd.
The deals arrive after the premiere of Beasts of No Nation, Netflix’s first original feature film, demonstrating the site’s ability to both give an indie film exposure to audiences around the globe and also earn them award nominations at both the Golden Globes and BAFTAs. The only part of Netflix’s pitch that was missing was a wide theatrical release, as exhibitors boycotted the film. Netflix’s latest deals, though, have been solely for VOD rights, leaving the indie movies to negotiate their own theatrical distribution. As a result, the deals are streaming in. With another nine days of the festival to go, how many more films will join Netflix’s supermarket sweep?