The Omen (1976) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
Damien. The name that single-handedly brought terror to the big screen.
I had the pleasure of seeing this movie years ago and just recently decided to revisit it again, everything I originally loved about the movie still retains from my first viewing. Forget the likes of Hostel, SAW, etc this is the true horror. It doesn't rely on shock gimmicks, over the top gore or a sexy yet unremarkable cast. It relies on deep seated fears that still ring true today and for that reason alone this still maintains it's rank as one of my all time favourite horrors.
PLOT : US Ambassador Robert Thorn and his wife, Katherine are planning for their child when she has a stillborn child. When a priest approaches him offering a child whose mother has just died in childbirth, Robert agrees to do so without telling his wife the truth of their baby. Yet after moving to London strange events, and ominous warnings from a priest, leads him to believe the child he took from the hospital is evil incarnate.
Oh how this movie grips me. Using a plot that is not too difficult to dissect and characters who you actually care for, this is a juggernaut of white knuckle terror from Beginning to End.
Tight, gripping atmosphere this is proof that movies do not need gore to consistently be good. Fantastic film!
Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn - I loved him in this. Playing a character in turmoil he takes a simple turn and turns it into an emotional stint. Going through the entire movie determined to uncover the truth, he plays a distressed man well and was 100% in his conviction. He was a driving force to be reckoned with in this movie.
David Warner as Jennings - He was fantastic. Determined to uncover the truth of Damien you believed whole-heartedly in this character. Serious but fearful for his life you believed in his breathtaking performance throughout.
OK, special accolade has to go to Harvey Stephens as little Damien. To play such a young role, look innocent but ultimately play evil incarnate is the mark of a wonderful young actor. Given that he creeped me out, Stephens did a wonderful job as young Damien.
As for the rest of the cast, they are all wonderful in their prospective roles. Each bringing something new to the table and making the movie stand higher thanks to the strength of their perfomances and their stellar acting.
Why does this movie work? Instead of relying on the shock gimmicks of today it relied on a psychological underbelly. And what I really loved was the moments when nothing were happened were actually as tight. Yes I have watched horror/ thriller's where the quiet parts can hinder the progress of the movie. But even the quiet moments in this work.
The reason comes down to sharp writing talent and a cast that can bring a sharp edge to even the quietest of conversations. With a cast that works so well together it just all meshes brilliantly together.
What to say of the score? Ave Satani by Jerry Goldsmith, the score we now all know and love was the perfect compliment to this movie. Even now years on it is a score everyone recognises even those who have yet to see The Omen such is the power of a gorgeous but deeply unsettling score. It literally was made for this movie. Beautiful.
As for the special effects when it came to bloody moments, whilst far and few between the scenes that used imagination i.e. the glass pane & beheading are done wonderfully and do not look at all out of place. Done to great effect.
Compared to so many movies since this still remains one of the better of the lot because of everything it imbues. For the fact that it still remains dark and unsettling with years passed. This is the true belly of atmosphere in horror.
In the end this is in my top 10 because it is atmospheric, eerie and moody thanks to the magic of Richard Donner. It has a dark undertone and gets you thinking. It is on some basic level very intellectual and tests your mettle.
Dark and scary, The Omen is a movie that always makes me breathless come the finale and for that it deserves the highest applaud I can give it. Want gratuitous blood and guts? Go and watch Hostel. Want something that is deeper and more meaningful? Go and watch The Omen, you won't regret it.
Quite simply a gorgeous premise in horror film making. Respect.