Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Killing of a Scared Deer" Review by Tim Hellman

'THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A psychological horror flick directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou (the duo also performed the same duties on such critically acclaimed indie hits as 'THE LOBSTER' and 'DOGTOOTH'). The story revolves around a doctor who befriends a teenage boy, and then later learns that the boy wants revenge for the death of his father, years earlier, on the doctor's operating table. It's based on the ancient Greek play 'Iphigenia at Aulis', by Euripides. The film stars Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Nicole Kidman, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp. It's received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's now playing in indie theaters. I found the movie to be incredibly creepy and disturbing, but it's also undeniably effective and well made.

The story revolves around Steven Murphy (Farrell), a very skilled surgeon, and his wife Anna (Kidman), and their two kids (Cassidy and Suljic). Steven has befriended a young teenage boy, named Martin (Keoghan). Martin's father died ten-years earlier, and Steven was the operating surgeon. It's soon revealed that Martin blames Steven for the death of his father, and he wants revenge. He explains to Steven that he's put a curse on the Murphy family, and Steven's wife and children will die, unless Steven picks one of them to kill first. Steven at first does not believe Martin, but after the symptoms of the illness Martin described begin coming true, the whole family becomes frantic for survival.

The movie is so dark and disturbing that my friend, who I was watching it with, had to leave the theater three different times. I'm used to really creepy and horrifying movies like this, but it even got to me a bit. It's definitely not a happy or pleasant movie at all, but it is effective at what it sets out to do. Which is to just make the viewer completely uncomfortable and disturbed the entire time. So I have to give it a good rating just for that. Keoghan's performance in it is also outstanding as well (it's arguably Oscar worthy). I'd definitely recommend the movie to film fans, and especially horror movie lovers, that can handle disturbing subject matter that is.

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