The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster is one of my favourite movies and Dogtooth, his directorial debut, is quite brilliant. That's why I was very excited about The Killing of a Sacred Deer (that and Colin Farrell, of course).

The film follows Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell), a skilled heart surgeon who befriends a teenage boy, Martin (Barry Keoghan), whose father died in one of his surgeries, and brings him home to meet his wife Anne (Nicole Kidman) and his children, Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic). 

I know it doesn't sound very intriguing but saying what happens after that would mean spoiling the experience in my opinion, and I don't want to ruin the film for you. What I can tell is that this is another pretty disturbing story from Lanthimos, this time based on Greek mythology.

It's intelligent, mysterious and suspenseful and its several twists will keep you guessing until the end. The ending was a little bizarre though and I'm not sure what it was about. I guess it's because I'm not that familiar with Greek mythology (which is why I didn't get some of the metaphors) and I know nothing about the tragedy of Iphigenia. 

Anyway, what makes The Killing of a Sacred Deer good is the characters. They are strange, which is pretty normal with Lanthimos, but strange in a rather uncomfortable and unsettling way. They all act so inhumanly, they seem robots. Their conversations are emotionless but they are somewhat funny. They speak in a dead tone. They usually talk about banal matters, like how waterproof a watch is, and when they don't they say quite inappropriate things, like Steven telling a colleague about the time his daughter got her period for the first time, or Martin making comments about his own mother's body. The actors are impeccable and all give rather disturbing performances as required by such a film.

A24, Curzon Artificial Eye
As if the characters weren't uncomfortable enough, Lanthimos also delivers a disturbing, unsettling, dark atmosphere of horror that is enhanced even more by a haunting score. I have to admit that at times the loud orchestral music was a little annoying and didn't add any drama or dread to the film.

However, the most striking and unsettling aspect of the film is easily the camera work. The camera angles are very interesting (some shots reminded me of Kubrick's The Shining) and the corridors/empty rooms scenes where the camera slowly zooms down are quite disturbing.


  1. I have this saved in my Netflix queue, I can't wait to see it.

  2. E' tra i miei recuperi.. spero di riuscire a vederlo a breve!

  3. Sono un grande estimatore di Lanthimos, penso di essere uno dei pochi ad avere visto tutti i suoi film (a partire da Kynodontas e poi Alps - presentato a Venezia - fino allo splendido The Lobster). Ti confesso però che ho un po' di timore a vedere questo, perchè i film di Lanthimos necessitano di una certa predisposizione e una buona dose di pelo sullo stomaco. Lo vedrò quando sarò dell'umore giusto... comunque lui è un signor Autore, su questo non si discute.

    1. Hai ragione, bisogna essere dell'umore giusto per vedere i suoi film. Non ho ancora visto Alps ma spero di recuperarlo presto.

  4. Nice review here. Oh yes, the cinematography is so unsettling. Rarely does camera composition instill so much dread into the audience.