The Horror Movie You Didn’t Know Was Based On A Greek Tragedy – Looper

For those who have yet to witness the demented horrors of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," it follows renowned surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) whose life is upended when he meets a seemingly harmless teen named Martin (Barry Keoghan) and takes him under his wing. After ingratiating himself to Dr.Murphy's family, it becomes clear that fateful meeting was anything but chance as Martin eventually reveals himself as the son of a man who died on the operating table of the good doctor. More disturbingly, Martin reveals he's hatched a plot for payback, poisoning Steven's entire family and tellingthe doctor that he has to kill one of them in tribute for his father's life. And if he doesn't?Well, then the whole family dies.

If you think that maniacal story bears certain earmarks of Greek tragedy, you're right. Lanthimos obviously takes quite a few liberties with the original story, but the overarching plot of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" has clear allegorical parallels to Euripedes' Greek tragedy "Iphigenia." That tragedy is named after the eldest daughter of Agamemnon, and it finds the Greek warrior tasked with sacrificing titular femme after accidentally killing wait for it a sacred deer in the gardens of the mighty goddess Artemis. In "Iphigenia," however the tradeoff is that, should Agamemnon not sacrifice the girl, he and his armies (en route to the Trojan Wars) would forever be stranded on Artemis' shores with the goddess withholding the winds necessary to escape by sea.

Yes, Euripedes' original tragedy is twisted in its own right. But Lanthimos perverts that tale in ways even the Greek master never could've imagined in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," delivering a caustic, morally muddied, distinctly modern tale of vengeance that'll break both hearts and brains.

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The Horror Movie You Didn't Know Was Based On A Greek Tragedy - Looper

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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