The Omen (2006)
the omen | john moore | david seltzer | liev schreiber | julia stiles | seamus davey-fitzpatrick | antichrist | religion | mythology | thriller | united states | remake | pete postlethwaite | mia farrow | david thewlis | michael gambon | predrag bjelac | amy huck
Film: The Omen
Director: John Moore
Writer: David Seltzer
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
It feels like that I need to start off with this review that I saw this remake before I saw any of the originals. My mother took myself and my sister to see this in the theater which would have been when I was visiting from college. It wasn’t too long after that I sought out the original series. This is probably my third time seeing this one, but the first with a critical eye. The synopsis is an American official realizes that his young son may literally be the Devil incarnate.
We start this movie in an observatory near the Vatican. The person that is running it notices an odd comet that is similar to what happened near Bethlehem when Jesus was born. He records his findings and this is then used in a secret meeting of many cardinals along with the Pope. The person who is relaying the information is correlating different actual real world events to aspects of the Book of Revelations. He believes that the Antichrist will be born soon.
It then shifts us over, learning that it is June 6th of 2006 at 6:00 am. Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) is trying to get to the hospital where his wife is giving birth. He knows there’s complications, but doesn’t know how bad it is. When he arrives, he meets with a Father Spiletto (Giovanni Lombardo Radice). He states that their child passed away, but there was a mother who passed away during birth at the same time. She had a son, with no family to care for the child. It is then decided that Robert will assume this boy as his own, never telling his wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles), the truth.
They go about raising Damien and we get a day where Robert informs Katherine that the ambassador in Rome he is the deputy to, Steven Haines (Marshall Cupp), is being transferred to London and they’re going with him. We see a tragic ‘accident’ happen in the vein of Final Destination where the ambassador is killed. In some odd circumstances, Robert takes over the position in London in the stead of his predecessor over some pretty important individuals.
The movie then shifts us into the future 5 years. Damien is now Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. We’re at birthday party for him. There’s a bunch of co-workers, friends as well as reporters to document the event. Among them is Keith Jennings (David Thewlis). Things take a turn though when their nanny, Amy Huck, kills herself. Before she hangs herself from the top of their home, she announces that it is all for Damien.
Things continue to get even weirder when a Father Brennan (Pete Postelthwaite) comes to Robert’s office to warn him and his wife are in danger. He reveals that he was there the day of Damien’s birth and knows the truth. He reveals who the boy’s real mother is, a jackal, and this spooks Robert. He doesn’t believe him, but the seed is planted. More weird things happen making Robert question everything that he knows and what the truth of this boy they’ve been raising.
That’s where I want to leave the recap at this time. I’ve already shared my first experience with this movie, but something I didn’t delve into was the marketing campaign they had for it. I’ll be honest. It is legit one of the best that I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. The production and distribution companies knowing the importance of the June 6th date in 2006 to get that 666 was strategic plan on their part. I might have even seen this that opening day. If not, it was pretty soon after.
If you read my review of the original film, then you know I’m sucker for these religious based horror films. Something this one does well in updating and making modern is taking different events that happened and affected the world we live in and incorporating as the signs of the upcoming apocalypse is good. I don’t know if it matters that they’re stating the different ‘trumpets’ that sounded out of order. What I mean is that an earlier trumpet they correlate to 9/11 while one after that is the Challenger spaceship exploding. They’re technically out of order Challenger was a couple decades before. I did still like those correlating drawings to these events looking eerily similar.
I can’t be all positive here though unfortunately. This movie is a shot for shot remake of the original. I don’t want to come down to hard on the movie as I think things like this have a place and I hate judging a movie against another when I’m critiquing only one at that time. This tough just feels like it is lacking heart to me. Which I think there are a few things as to why.
I’ll first go to something though that I don’t think is that much of a step down, which is the acting. Although I don’t think that Schreiber is as talented as Gregory Peck, I don’t mind the different and younger take on the role of Robert. I thought he was good here. I do have issues with Stiles playing Katherine though. At the time, I just don’t feel like she was old enough to be a mother of a child this old and that’s still kind of where I’m at. It just doesn’t feel natural. The supporting cast is on point in my opinion and rival the original. Thewlis I thought did a really good job as the reporter, which I will say feels like it fits better in this version for whatever reason. I do think that Postlethwaite, Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock the new nanny and Michael Gambon as Bugenhagen rounded this out just fine. It is hard for me come to down too hard on Davey-Fitzpatrick, but he doesn’t come off as menacing either which effects the movie for me.
That will take me next to the effects of the movie, which feels odd here. They went CGI for the most part. It is hard to fault the movie as that was the era. It didn’t look great if I’m going to be honest. I didn’t mind the ‘Final Destination’ twists on the kills and I’m not surprised they incorporated it. It doesn’t hurt the movie at all for me. The practical effects we do get are fine with no issues there and the cinematography was the about the same.
I think the other thing that makes it feel like it is lacking some heart is the music used. What was selected was fine. It never took me out of the movie, but they didn’t use the Latin chorus music so it doesn’t affect me as much as the selections from the original series. I can’t fault the movie for the decision made, but I think that could be why it doesn’t have the impact.
Now with that said, this isn’t a bad remake in my opinion. It just feels like it is lacking heart. I think that it does do some good things with incorporating world events to correlate back to the impending doom of the world. I think on the whole the acting is solid. What really hurts it for me is being a shot for shot remake that just seems to be going through the motions. It struggled to keep my interest, the CGI wasn’t great and the soundtrack doesn’t add much to help perk it back up. I’d still say that I enjoyed it, but would rate it just over average in my opinion. It could be a gateway film to get people to check out the original story if this intrigues you. I’d be more adapt to recommend it to fans who don’t like to watch pre-2000s movies or non-horror fans for sure.
My Rating: 5.5 out of 10