Tale of real-life 1940s serial killers and lovers premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week. 

US distributor Music Box has acquired Fabrice du Welz’ serial killer thriller Alleluia which premiered to critical acclaim at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in May.

Paris-based sales agent SND announced it had also sold the picture to Carlotta Films for France.

The film revolves around real-life 1940s serial killers and lovers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez – known as “the honeymoon killers’ — who went on frenzied killing spree across the US.

Music Box managing director Edward Arentz said of the acquisition: “We knew pretty quickly this was something special. Fabrice du Welz has refashioned with tremendous precision “The Honeymoon Killers” into a toweringly unhinged love story both bizarre and beautiful. Alleluia is nothing short of an answered prayer for lovers of extreme cinema.”

The Chicago-based distributor is planning to showcase the film at a number of North American festivals in the autumn and then open it in theatres late 2014 to early 2015.

The film is already generating considerable buzz on US genre blog sites.

It is a rare contemporary purchase for Paris-based Carlotta Films, meanwhile, which usually specialises in classic, heritage titles.

“Fabrice du Welz’s new film affirms his voice as a strong, singular and innovative director, taking the slasher movie tradition and adapting it to his own menacing universe,” said Carlotta Films’ CEO Vincent Paul-Boncour.

SND’s head of international sales Charlotte Boucon said a number of other sales were currently under negotiation.