AndersonVision Best Films of 2017: #9 – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (A24)


“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” should really make you think about revenge. Not in the sense of comatose Uma Thurman waking up and going samurai crazy. I’m talking about in the traditional sense. The Old World sense that inspired bards and traveling scholars to share illustrious tales of pious young people and decaying families. Borrowing with great glee from the tragedy of Iphigenia, this film mixes American cinematic supernatural flair with Old Greek sadness. When audiences split on the material, I wasn’t surprised. People don’t like downers anymore.

Barry Keoghan is a revelation in this film. Playing the distant, yet inviting Martin…he worms his way into the lives of the Murphy family. Family patriarch Doctor Murphy has a secret that he hasn’t shared with the others. Doc Murphy is a bit of a drunk and might’ve botched the surgery that could’ve saved Martin’s father. Now, Martin wants revenge. If ol’ Doc Murphy killed his dad, then Martin wants a member of the Murphy Clan to die as payment. Martin won’t directly cause the death, but he will curse the family until the blood is paid.

That’s when the kids start becoming paralyzed. Then, they stop eating. Their abilities return for periods, but not long enough. Watching as the Murphy parents lose their grasp on reality, Martin awaits to see what Doc Murphy will do to make things right. Colin Farrell and Yorgos Lanthimos are becoming the actor/director team to watch. It’s been ages since I’ve seen two talents hit on the right notes regardless of the story.

Plus, big props to shooting a film like this in the Cincinnati area. While I would prefer things shoot further down river, I applaud my film community pals in the Queen City for landing this one.


  • 2 hrs and 1 minute
  • R
  • A24


  • 97%
    Film Score - 97%

The Plot Thus Far

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

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