Movie Review: The Omen (1976)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1976 thriller starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.

Synopsis: When his child dies shortly after being born, an American ambassador decides to keep the death a secret from his wife and, instead, substitutes an orphaned infant. What he doesn't know is the child, Damien, is really the Antichrist and will bring darkness to the world if he doesn't kill the 5-year-old boy first.

Review

I came across this film on one of our movie channels a couple nights ago and, since it had been a long while since I took the time to watch it, I decided to record it (along with the two sequels that followed it). My wife and I ended up watching it before bed last night and the movie is as good as I remembered it.

I wouldn't describe this film as particularly scary, though there are some pretty intense scenes (I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my daughters watching it), including a suicide and a decapitation. However, even though it isn't the scariest film I've watched, it is still very entertaining.

I think one thing I really like about this movie is the fact Damien (Stephens) is so young in it. It's one thing to talk about defeating an adult Antichrist. But, when defeating him requires killing a father (Peck) killing a young child he has raised as his own since infancy, it does set a completely different tone for the movie. It also keeps the ending from being as predictable as I thought it would be.

I also liked how Damien's victims were foretold in photographs. The shadows that showed in the photos gave clues about how the people would die but were just vague enough to keep you guessing.

Another thing that was intriguing in this film was the way he didn't do everything alone and, instead, had his own minions, including his nanny (Whitelaw) and a ferocious-looking dog. He was dangerous enough. Him having helpers just made things even more unpredictable because you never knew when they would try to run interference.

The Omen

A U.S. diplomat and his wife adopt the infant Damien in Rome, then find out he's the Antichrist.

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Final Opinion

While not overly scary by today's standards, this movie still manages to be entertaining from start to finish. It's a great supernatural thriller and a movie I would recommend.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 02/13/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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