The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.
If you had told me this movie would leave you gutshot and spiraling downward into a sea of maddening depression after viewing it, I mean, let’s face it – I still would have watched it. Obviously. On the surface, this movie has everything going for it – a stellar cast of A-listers, a hot new director (Yorgos Lanthimos, Dogtooth and The Lobster), and that trendy approach to the horror genre everyone’s been talking about (more on that later). So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in.
Colin Farrell plays a cardiovascular surgeon who accidentally killed a man on the operating table, not too long before the story opens. The victim’s son, a kid named Martin who’s taken social awkwardness to the next level, has taken to Dr. Murphy, following him around and engaging in friendly, seemingly meaningless conversations. They sort of become friends, though, we know – through Farrell’s excellent performance – that Dr. Murphy is only tolerating Martin because of his hidden guilt, and Murphy has grown tired of their strange relationship. As their “friendship” unfolds, we learn more about what happened when Martin’s father died. Dr. Murphy doesn’t exactly believe he’s responsible for the death, mostly shrugs it off and tries to move on with his life. But as we discover, Martin hasn’t forgotten. He won’t let it go.
Soon, Dr. Murphy’s family starts to get sick. They lose their appetites. They become weak, stricken to hospital beds. Whatever is wrong with them, there doesn’t seem to be a cure. Then Martin tells Murphy that he must choose one family member to kill or they’ll all die horrible, agonizing deaths.
Pretty messed up, right? It is.
I won’t give away what happens in the latter half of this movie, but it will undoubtedly leave you emotionally bankrupt. My only issue with the film is the pacing; the first half of the movie drags in spots, and there are about three scenes that could have been left on the cutting floor. Not to mention, the end of the first act happens over an hour into the two-hour running time. But if you stick with it, the payoff is totally worth it.
I absolutely recommend checking this movie out. As previously mentioned, it falls into the trend of what some call “ART-HOUSE HORROR”, in the vein of The Witch or Hereditary. But it’s all horror to me, no matter which mask it wears.
So watch this. It’s currently available with an Amazon Prime subscription. But be warned. It will crush you. Also, please note: there is not a single fucking deer in this movie.
A solid 8 out of 10 bleeding eyeballs for A KILLING OF A SACRED DEER.
Tim Meyer dwells in a dark cave near the Jersey Shore. He’s an author, husband, father, podcast host, blogger, coffee connoisseur, beer enthusiast, and explorer of worlds. He writes horror, mysteries, science fiction, and thrillers, although he prefers to blur genres and let the stories fall where they may. You can also listen to his movie podcast, APERTURE HOUR, from the Project Entertainment Network.