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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Omen

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Judy Thorburn

The Omen

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"THE OMEN" - THE SECOND COMING OF DAMIAN


Unlike many unnecessary remakes, I can actually see why it came as a good idea to do an updated version of The Omen. First of all, the release date of 6/06/06, should give a hint. Hmmmm. As Dana Carvey’s church lady would say, “Isn’t that special”. As far as movie marketing, I would say so, yes. Based on New Testament scriptures, those three consecutive 6’s are said to be the mark of the Beast/Satan and that date is supposed to foretell the coming of the Anti-Christ, or as The Book of Revelations says, will herald in Armageddon. So it seems perfectly fitting for Twentieth Century Fox to cash in and want to profit from all the hoopla by planning the release to coincide with that calendar date.

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Josh Hutcherson, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

This 2006 version made 30 years after the original that starred Lee Remick and Gregory Peck is a faithful do-over recreating almost every scene, but with a few things added that bring it up to date by showing a sequence of recent earthly catastrophies and the religious and political climate of our present times figuring into the relevance of the storyline. Both Remick and Peck have long since passed on, so don’t expect to see them in a cameo anywhere. Recast in their roles as newly appointed Ambassador to Great Britain, Robert Thorn and his wife Katherine are the much younger Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles. I don’t see Schreiber as the best choice for this role, since he plays it mostly stiff and stone faced throughout, while Stiles who probably was cast because she kind of resembles Lee Remick in her earlier years, fares better and is more convincing as the young mother who is both terrified of her offspring and suspicious of his strange behavior.

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Josh Hutcherson, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

As the story goes, shortly after Katherine gives birth, a Priest informs her husband that the baby has died and urges him to take another newborn, which he does in secret from his wife, to raise as their own. Everything seems hunky dory during infancy. But, as Damian grows into a child, disturbing things start to happen. A visit to the zoo causes the caged monkeys and gorillas to go wild. A drive to Sunday church services makes Damian hysterical, out of control, and ripping his nails into his mother, and a Priest, Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite) brings a dire warning to Thorn.

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Josh Hutcherson, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

In the first of the horrific death scenes to come, right in the middle of Damian’s fifth birthday celebration the Nanny (Amy Huck) commits a hanging suicide by jumping off the mansion’s roof, but not before declaring, “Damian, this is for you”. Her replacement comes in the form of a syrupy sweet, but sinister new Nanny, Mrs. Blaylock, a servant of the Dark Side played by Mia Farrow, a clever choice if there ever was one, since if audiences recall, she was the unwitting mother of the Devil’s spawn in another classic horror film from the 70’s, “Rosemary’s Baby”.

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Josh Hutcherson, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

In the middle of all this a photographer, Keith Jennings (David Thewlis) figures in the scenario by opening the eyes of Thorn with evidence seen within his photos that something terrifying is going on. Need I say more? Just know that anyone messing with the plans of Satan’s son has hell to pay.

So, how does this remake rank to Richard Donner’s 1976 thriller? For pure shock value, it works delivering several startling jump from your seat scares. The decapitation and impalement scenes are more graphic and gory for horror fans to get their groove on. Director John Moore (Beyond Enemy Lines, The Flight of the Phoenix) creates an ominous, dark atmosphere befitting to the subject matter. But, there are some things that bother me; like why it takes so long for Thorn, a supposedly smart fellow, to wake up and see that his kid is evil incarnate? Photos or not, it is apparent Damian is a very bad seed, indeed. On another negative note, I didn’t care for the young actor, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, in his screen debut as Damien. He looked too mean from the get go, whereas it would have been more frightening having a child with an angelic face that belied the evil beneath. The original film, in its casting of Damien got that right, but it’s missing here.

Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Josh Hutcherson, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

However, all things considered, and I am a fan of the original film, as a whole I’d say The Omen rates as a fairly good updated remake of the horror flick, with a standout supporting cast more effective than the leads. No doubt remakes of the sequels are also forthcoming. We will have to see how they turn out. If bad, the filmmakers can always turn to the excuse that “the Devil made me do it.”