Magnolia Pictures has closed a deal for US rights to Daniel Nettheim’s psychological thriller following its Toronto world premiere.

Willem Dafoe stars as a mercenary hired to track a fabled beast in Tasmania who becomes involved in a family mystery. Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor and Vincent Sheehan also star in the Porchlight Films production.

Alice Addison adapted the screenplay from a novel by Julia Leigh, whose directorial debut Sleeping Beauty premiered in Cannes.

Magnolia plans a 2012 theatrical release through its Ultra VOD platform. Svp of acquisitions Dori Begley, director of acquisitions Peter Van Steemburg and head of legal and business affairs Chris Matson negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group and eOne negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers. eOne is handling international sales outside Australia.

Magnolia division Magnet previously picked up Goon and God Bless America at the festival.