Lions Gate Films International, the international theatrical sales arm of Lions Gate Entertainment run by Nick Meyer and Sergei Yershov, has acquired international rights to Cabin Fever, the surprise horror hit of the Toronto International Film Festival which its domestic arm Lions Gate Films bought after its first midnight screening at Toronto.

Meyer and Yershov bought rights from producers DownHome Entertainment, Tonic Films, Black Sky Entertainment and Deer Path Films and will screen it for buyers at MIFED.

Lions Gate plans to release the film domestically in the second half of 2003. Directed by David Lynch protege Eli Roth, Cabin Fever follows five friends as they embark on a vacation deep into the mountains following college graduation. However, when one of them contracts a virulent flesh-eating disease, the group dynamic devolves into survival of the fittest.

Roth wrote the film with Randy Pearlstein based on his own experience with a virus contracted during a visit to Iceland. Producers are Lauren Moews, Sam Froelich, Evan Astrowsky and Roth, Susan Jackson is executive producer. The music was composed by Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti.

The cast includes Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern and Arie Verveen.

Meyer and Yershov negotiated the deal for the film on behalf of Lions Gate Films International with Jackson of Turtles Crossing and Cassian Elwes of The William Morris Agency on behalf of the film-makers.