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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) - Movie Review

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer - Movie Review

5 stars

“Good afternoon, you must be Martin,” is the greeting received for the mysterious teenager standing just outside the open door of the Murphy household.  Without a second thought, he is invited into their home.  Big mistake.  Let the unwinding of a very straight-laced life begin.

Opening with a close-up of an open heart surgery as Franz Schubert’s Stabat Mater in F minor plays in dramatic fashion, The Killing of a Sacred Deer issues its warning to all those daring enough to enter its darkness: the following is going to be really harrowing content.  Tragic.  Beautiful.  Weird.  And so very deadly. 

Starring a wonderfully complacent Colin Farrell as a successful cardiothoracic surgeon with a wonderful life with little surprises, the film documents the entwinement that transpires when he befriends a mysterious teenager named Martin (Barry Keoghan), who he dotes on like his son, while keeping his household together.  Dr. Murphy’s got a beautiful wife with her own sexual quirks and two awkward kids, knee-deep in puberty.

He is about to lose it all. 

Tragedy strikes deep and, one by one, his family suffers.  Soon, Dr. Murphy is faced with a remarkably horrifying no-win decision, all thanks to the role Martin plays in his quest for revenge.  With classical music dressing the atmosphere and extensive camera technique such as high-angle and low-angle long gliding tracking shots to drive the anticipation, The Killing of a Sacred Deer strikes a deep wound as it mercilessly blends a tale of revenge with humor and horror.  And the discomfort is felt by all of us.

If you thought The Lobster couldn’t be topped, think again.  It is damn near deposed with in director Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up film.  This is his career best, so far.  The Killing of a Sacred Deer – with the same creative team as his previous aforementioned effort – brings you into its psychosis thanks to the lingering compositions of director of photography Thimios Bakatakis’ lens.

But it is through the many stellar performances – including Alicia Silverstone – in which The Killing of a Sacred Deer draws you in to its tale of morbidity.  The casual domestic situation grows more and more restricted, crammed with unexpected intrigue and mystery, as one family is ripped asunder.  Both elements are amped up with steady unease and then, when it is all but too late; the film winds us with a swift kick to the loins of masculinity.

And the events leading up to that choice will leave you reeling.   

Much of director Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film – a tale of terror no less – is reminiscent of David Lynch’s form of dread.  It is bold in its content, sharply written with wonderful dialogue, its characters are left of center, and full of enough tension to keep you completely stressed out and anxious.  The pressure mounts as the characters materialize and then react to the extreme situation of mysterious illnesses, taking us on a journey through suburbia as a train goes barreling right through it.    

In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, horror knows no limits.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content, some graphic nudity and language.
121 mins
: Yorgos Lanthimos
Yorgos Lanthimos
Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Colin Farrell
: Drama | Mystery
Memorable Movie Quote: “Good afternoon, you must be Martin."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 3, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: A teenager's attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn.

No details available.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer - Movie Review

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