Film releases: Revenge is a dish best served ice cold
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Cert 15, 121 mins)
Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and regular co-writer Efthymis Filippou draw loosely on Greek mythology for a twisted and beguiling morality tale that tests one beleaguered father's love to breaking point.
Revenge is served ice cold, garnished with shavings of creeping psychological dread, set to a discordant soundscape by Johnnie Burn that artfully juxtaposes classical music with an a cappella rendition of Ellie Goulding's dancefloor hit Burn.
Like all of Lanthimos' earlier work, the film is distinguished by the quality of the writing and he skilfully employs staccato lines of dialogue to pique curiosity and set our nerves on edge.
Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman deliver haunting performances as parents gripped by fear, the latter laying herself bare for disconcerting sex sequences, while Barry Keoghan oozes righteous rage as a son on a mission to assuage grief with a sacrifice.
A blackly humorous scene with a shotgun is a jaw-dropping flourish that reminds us of the writer-director's ability to smack gobs without straining credibility.
Lanthimos gleefully plays with madness and almost nudges us over the edge of sanity with the characters.
You won't go wild for lacklustre tale
The Son of Bigfoot (Cert PG, 92 mins)
A bullied teenager's tragic past is exposed as a lie in Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen's computer-animated romp, which hangs a traditional rites-of-passage story on the existence of an untamed creature from American folklore.
Each moral-heavy interlude is accompanied by a pop rock soundtrack courtesy of Belgian band Puggy, which is either infectious or irritating depending on your musical proclivities.
The quality of the animation is solid and a couple of chase sequences neatly alternate between first and third-person perspectives to give a sense of inertia.
A linear script co-written by Bob Barlen and Cal Brunker is skewed towards younger audiences, with fleeting and random pop culture references like a roadside poster that references the Breaking Bad TV spin-off Better Call Saul.
Character development is two-dimensional and the film's bouffant arch-villain isn't remotely threatening, which dilutes dramatic tension in the explosive closing frames.