When the new American ambassador to Great Britain is killed
in a bizarre accident, Robert Thorn is assigned his post and
moves, with his wife Katherine and young son Damien, to London.
Five years earlier, unknown to Katherine, Richard was approached
by priest Father Spiletto who told him his new-born baby was
dead but that he could take on another child with no family
and care for it as his own. After Damien's nanny commits suicide
at his birthday party, a mysterious replacement arrives to
"protect" him. A ferocious dog is also brought into the house.
Robert is warned by another priest, Father Brennan, that he
has the Devil's son, and from that moment a catalogue of violent
deaths follows as Damien's power grows. A photographer notices
that strange exposure effects on his developed photos are
conducive with the manner of the subject's death, and realises
he himself hasn't long to live. When Father Brennan is killed,
Robert Thorn is left as the only innocent person to know the
truth. But has he the strength to take action against what,
on the surface, appears to be a helpless young child...
Whenever a classic film is remade by Hollywood for a new audience
the first question I have to ask every time is "Why?" Rescript
a lacklustre flick and improve it, yes. But extremely well-made
and memorable films should be left well alone.
It's years since I watched the 1976 original, directed by
Richard Donner, and I can still remember almost every scene,
such was it's impact. However, that came in handy when watching
this new 2006 version, directed by John Moore.
you might expect from a remake, it is almost scene for scene
the same, but there are subtle differences. Katherine experiences
a series of nasty but very well realised nightmares, in lighteningly-quick
cuts, involving the evil of Damien. The set-piece when the
photographer is decapitated is handled in a completely different
way; instead of the large sheet of glass sliding from the
back of a lorry, this version uses effects and new filming
techniques to show a sequence of seemingly happenstance events
culminating in a bracket swinging down from a wall. I did
enjoy the headless body bumping down the steps, but that's
just me! Another visually effective moment comes when Thorn
is chased along a corridor by the dog and manages to temp
it to jump straight through a trapdoor into the basement.
There are more than a few negatives to this film, some of
which only fans of the original are likely to notice. Firstly,
although all performances are pretty convincing - particularly
Mia Farrow as the Nanny - the 1976 original benefited from
a stellar cast. Gregory Peck was powerful in the role of Thorn,
and Patrick Troughton as the priest (who you could say gets
shafted) was wonderfully mad. There is a scene in the remake,
when Katherine suffers her "accident", which is stolen straight
out of Kubrick's The Shining. Damien on the scooter
is directed identically to that film. Even the same sound
and cuts are used. And talking of sound, the film score by
veteran Jerry Goldsmith incorporates far too many Psycho
the main problem I have with this film is the somewhat nonsensical
climatic scene. Having decided to kill Damien with the holy
knives in the manner advised, Thorne thrusts the boy into
the car, kicking and screaming all the way. He would have
known there was a police motorcycle patrolman on the gate
for security, so instead of gagging Damien, locking him in
the boot and driving slowly and calmly out the gates, he ridiculously
elects to swerve about, fighting the boy, and smash through
the heavy gates at speed. Considering Thorn accelerates straight
into town, skids to a stop outside the church, and has only
been by the altar for less than thirty seconds, it seems that
is time enough for the motorcycle cop to radio in for back-up
and miraculously have five or six high-pursuit police cars
arrive in seconds. And, for goodness sake, where the hell
did the American SWAT team waving guns come from?! Now, isn't
that all just a little far-fetched and ridiculous?
The Omen (2006) isn't as bad as I've made it sound.
I always try to keep an objective head when reviewing films.
So, remembering the classic original, it would have been easy
to hate the remake. But it's a perfectly competent retelling
of an old tale. There is even an attempt to bring the story
up-to-date with the 9/11 twin towers incident included in
the prophecies, and army border patrols in Israel.
the start of this review I asked the question "Why?". I think
part of the answer might be marketing - and who can blame
them. Aside from tempting younger generations (and curious
older ones) to the cinema, there's also the reality of a revitalised
Features consist of a commentary by John Moore, Glenn Williamson
and Dan Zimmerman; Omenisms (37 Mins) - a behind-the
scenes featurette (during which the original Damien states
that nowadays this would kick-off a career, but back then
there wasn't many film opportunities for a six year old from
Catford!); Abbey Road Sessions (10 Mins), following
the music score; Revelation 666 (22 Mins), investigating
the myth of the beast; Extended Scenes; an Alternate
Ending, and Trailers.