MovieChat Forums > The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Discussion > Powerful and unsettling, but seemed to b...

Powerful and unsettling, but seemed to break its own rules

I thought Martin made it pretty clear that once you start bleeding from the eyes, there’s no saving you. So I thought one of these scenarios would likely happen:

(1) They would wait too long, the boy would die, then he would have to choose between the wife and the daughter (and agonize over how he should have just killed the boy earlier, saving them).

(2) When the eye-bleeding started, he would quickly try to get “credit” for killing the boy, but it would be too late and he’d have to go back to the dilemma in #1.

(3) The eye-bleeding would start, and he would kill his daughter or wife in hopes that it would save the boy, but it would not.

So I was surprised, first, when he started playing spin the wheel as to whom to kill, given that I thought killing the son wouldn’t work; and then when he did kill the son but it DID work.

(I was also surprised that the wife never got paralyzed, but that at least didn’t directly violate any previously stated rule.)


Once the persons eyes start bleeding, they die soon after. That's what Martin said, he never said anything about the person not being able to be saved after their eyes start bleeding.


Martin makes pretty clear that "once the bleeding happens, it's only a matter of hours before they die", meaning that the decision would be rushed, not that the bleeding meant that you were automatically out of the game.

Regarding the wife never got paralyzed, I think that would have started after the son had died from the curse. The daughter gets paralyzed a bit after her brother enters stage two (refusal to eat). Timing sure does look a bit strange, and they might have decided that storytelling-wise it was better not to make the mother sick (however she would/should have shown symptoms eventually, especially if the son had died because of the "curse" and not by his father's hand.

I have not reviewed all the topics from this movie here, but the most evident and stupid rule broken is that Martin never says that the father wasn't part of the choices. He explains that "just like you killed a member of my family, now you gotta kill a member of your family". It's never implied that Steven is not a member of the family so I spent almost the whole film wondering if he would choose to simply kill herself (he was the responsible for the death of Martin's father after all) and the ending let me guessing if I didn't understood the rules, or if Steven was so selfish that he knew that suicide was an option but he'd rather kill another member of the family instead.


It was odd that Anna never got paralyzed. Maybe she wasn't a family member after all? The daughter also was able to walk at Martin's will, it seemed, so...maybe he immunized Anna?

I thought it would have been funny if they considered the dog a family member (like some pet owners do) and he just gave it the ol' Yeller.