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The Omen
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The Omen – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

When tycoon Robert Thorn’s (Schreiber) wife Katherine (Stiles) gives
birth in an Italian hospital, the baby dies, but she isn’t told.
The hospital priest presents Thorn with another child whose mother died
in childbirth that same morning and persuades Thorn to take the boy as
his own. Katherine is none the wiser.
Due to a strange turn of events, Thorn ends up as US Ambassador to Great
Britain.
When Damien reaches five years old, a number of deeply disturbing events
take place around him. His nanny hangs herself at his birthday party, a
children’s trip to the zoo ends in a panicked frenzy and Damien becomes
hysterical during a drive to church.
His new nanny (Farrow) seems to be overtly devoted to him.
Thorn learns from a manic priest (Postlethwaite) that his son is in fact
the Anti-Christ who must be exterminated.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

As the saying goes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
For marketing execs, the release date of 6/6/06 was probably just too
good an omen to miss. However it’s not a good enough excuse for this
run-of-the-mill remake which lacks the thrills and the chills of the
original.
What made the 1976 movie the classic that it is, thirty years on, was a
spine chilling music score (which still gives me the hebee gee bees),
one of the most demonic looking kids possible (in the shape of Harvey
Stephens) and an equally scary Billie Whitelaw as his nanny and
protector. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick as the latest Damien looks more like
a petulant and spoilt child, who isn’t getting his own way, rather than
the spawn of the devil.
As for Mia Farrow she’s more like a demented Mary Poppins.
On the plus side the deaths are spectacular but you wouldn’t expect
anything less in this day and age. David Thewlis, as the photographer
who helps Thorn learn the truth about his son, is the best thing in
this film. This Omen pays homage to its predecessor by sticking
religiously to David Seltzer’s 1976 screenplay. But it’s mostly shot in
Prague — and it shows.
The main problem is that this just isn’t frightening, regardless of
whether you’ve seen the original or not. It also tries to be
contemporary by including events such as the 9/11 attacks and the
Tsunami which frankly is a bit of a cheap shot.

Opens nationwide 6 June 2006

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