The Killing of a Sacred Deer review – Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman slay it in taboo horror

Yorgos Lanthimos’s taboo horror The Killing of a Sacred Deer moves with a somnambulist’s certainty along its own distinctive spectrum of weird. It’s an intriguing, disturbing, amusing twist on something which in many ways could be a conventional horror-thriller from the 1970s or 1980s, or even a bunny-boiler nightmare from the 90s. There is a strident orchestral score, nightmarish fish-eye shooting angles, down low and up high, and people walking along corridors in such a way that makes forward movement feel like slo-mo falling.

The plot concerns a handsome, successful professional man and his beautiful wife and family, all of them coming apart at the seams in the face of a voodoo menace. This is a movie which has a clearer, straighter sense of shape and purpose – and seems to me to be therefore more successful – than his widely admired previous picture, The Lobster, which ran out of ideas well before the end. Happy End review – Michael Haneke's satanic soap opera of pure sociopathy     

The Austrian director returns to many of his classic themes in a stark, unforgiving and gripping satire on bourgeois Europeans and the people who serve them

Lanthimos’s trademark deadpan borderline-robotic dialogue and behaviour are in evidence here, in various degrees of subtlety and overtones, setting the mood music of disquiet. Colin Farrell plays a hugely successful cardiac surgeon with a stylish wife (Nicole Kidman) and two charming children, Bob (Sunny Suljic) and Kim (Raffey Cassidy).