Reviewed by

Bud Carlson

Some people like horror movies, and some do not. (Generally, I am not a big fan of the genre, but I am putting that aside for this review.)  But the one thing you can say about horror movies, like them or not, is that they make you feel something. They get a reaction out of you. They tend to take over your mind for those 90 minutes, and you forget about everything else. That’s the goal of a horror movie, and most of them (even the bad ones) accomplish it. Except for “The Omen”. Other than a couple of jump-fright scenes, this movie was as un-frightening and un-suspenseful as any horror movie I’ve ever seen.

“The Omen” (2006)is a remake of the original 1976 film that starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.  By some coincidence, I saw the original version of the story a few years ago, and found it to be fairly engrossing and moderately suspenseful. But the version currently being released, well, that doesn’t even warrant that same lukewarm review.

The story is based on an interpretation of the “prophecies” contained in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, whereby a series of unusual events (extreme weather, terrorist attacks, etc) are signaling the upcoming arrival of the Anti-Christ and the beginning of Armageddon on earth.  [Author’s note: where were those protestors of the DaVinci Code for this movie?]  But Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber), a senior American diplomat, is unaware of this prophecy, and in fact, he has other things on his mind. His wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles), has endured a difficult delivery, and is yet unaware that their unborn child has not survived. Thorn is devastated to

hear the news, and seeks the counsel of Father Spiletto, who presents him with another unborn child who was born that night, and whose mother died in childbirth. The priest urges Thorn to take the baby and present it to his wife as their own, and raise the boy, which they name Damien, as they would their own child. Thorn does so, and things seem to work out well for the family, at least at first. Unfortunately, when Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) is age five, strange and unfortunate events seem to surround him … his nanny commits suicide for apparently no reason, zoo animals are afraid of him and begin to attack, and blurred movements on a series of photographs portend the shocking deaths of those who appear in the pictures. All of this points to something being terribly wrong with Damien. And while Thorn is slow to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, yet another tragedy (this one closer to home) takes place, and forces him to confront directly the fact that Damien is the Anti-Christ and must be dealt with to prevent the unspeakable terror that faces the world.


Whew, sounds action-packed and scary, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not even close! First, Liev Schreiber is horrible in this role. He’s not credible as a political muckity-muck, unbelievable as a husband to Julia Stiles’ character, and witless, stiff and uninteresting as a person. Here’s the guy for whom you are supposed to feel sorry, as he takes the full-burden of the death of his unborn child onto his own shoulders, and then watches as his whole family falls apart. But instead, you feel nothing. Quite honestly, the only worse performance I have seen from an actor this year was David Morrissey as Dr Glass in “Basic Instinct 2.”  Second, I thought they got the character Damien all wrong in the remake. In the original movie, Damien was sort of innocent, unaware of all the trouble he was causing. But in this one, we don’t really know what Damien is thinking at all, and all we can see is these less-than-subtle frowns on his face just before some tragedy happens. It seems Davey-Fitzpatrick is overly-aware that he is playing a bad seed. Oh, and I don’t think the audience is supposed to laugh unintentionally at those frowns, do you? And finally third, what is up with all these horror movies using jump-frights (sometimes known as shock-cuts)? Is this the single most annoying trend in movie-making these days? The movie stinks and isn’t scary, so the only way they can “get” us is to startle us with some painfully-loud blast of noise?


This movie is so not-engrossing, it’s almost boring. You feel nothing while you watch it, no horror, no suspense, no anxiousness, nothing. So save your $10 ticket price, and go rent the 1976 version of “The Omen”. The two-disc collector’s edition of the original version is scheduled to be released two weeks after the theatrical release of the remake, so use your hard-earned money and go rent that. You’ll be much happier in the end!


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