Greek director (DOGTOOTH and THE LOBSTER) Yourgos Lanthimos’ latest feature is a supernatural psychological thriller that is the most difficult to watch despite its bouts of black humour. The reason the film is titled THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER becomes apparent at the film’s end and exposing the reason would spoilt the film’s key plot point.
The film follows Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell), a cardiac surgeon who is first seen at a diner meeting with a 16-year-old named Martin (Barry Keoghan). The doctor buys the boy an expensive watch as a present. The relationship between the two is revealed as the film goes on. Steven introduces Martin to his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children. Martin, determined to ingratiate himself into this unfamiliar new family, becomes something like an adopted son. Strange things begin to happen with the children developing paralysis right out of the blue. Dr. Murphy and his team of surgeons are unable to put a medical explanation for the illnesses.
Secrets start coming out of the closet. Director Lanthimos unveils bits at a time, thus keeping the audience in anticipation. Revealing more of the plot in this review will definitely spoil ones enjoyment of the film, and thus no more of the story will be revealed.
It is safe to say that the film gets more and more serious and ends up becoming quite a disturbing watch. Lanthimos does not skimp on the violence and language. The film has a lot of anger and the anger is slowly but surely unleashed by every one in the part concerned.
The humour often comes in the form of inconsequential dialogue, often spoken by the main character, Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell). Hunour is also provided in the way drain information, is relayed to the audience. For example, Steven tells his colleague out of the blue for no reason, that his daughter has begun her menstruation.
The sex scene between husband and wife is as expected a strange one, but sufficiently erotic. Kidman has an almost perfect body. Farrell, Kidman and Keoghan all deliver chilling performances.
The film demands the audience sit back and immerse themselves in the environment of horror. The film is clear a horror film with scary results that resulted in quite a few of the audience at the screening walking out.
The film uses quite a bit of choral music wit a scene of a scene of the daughter singing in the choir. Sound is also used effectively as when Steven takes off his wife’s panties, like the snapping sound of him taking off his surgical gloves.
The film contains some very scary scenes. These include the ones with the son and daughter both paralyzed from the waste down, dragging their bodies around the house, up and down the stairs using their arms. There is also an almost unwatchable scene of Russian Roulette
THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is a well executed psychological and emotional horror film. Not for everyone!