The Omen (1976) – Movie Review

The Omen (1976) – Movie Review                              5/5

Almost 42 years ago The Omen, a satanic horror film starring Gregory Peck, shocked horror enthusiasts into never wanting kids. The film follows an American Diplomat, Robert, whose son Damien is acting strangely. When Damien’s nanny hangs herself, Robert is approached by Father Brennan, who claims his son is the antichrist and will kill his wife Kathy’s unborn child. At first, Robert doesn’t believe him until his wife suffers nightmares about Damien, his new nanny shows strange behaviour, people die in freak accidents, Kathy claims she’s pregnant and increasingly odd things happen around his supposedly innocent child. Robert enlists the help of a photographer and they are drawn closer and closer into a macabre mystery and the truth may be too horrifying to bear. Will Robert save Kathy and maybe even the world or will the devil win in the end?

This is one of the rare horror films that is scarier after each viewing. The first time I watched it, I loved it but I wasn’t too frightened. Then I got the DVD for Christmas and for some reason it terrified me. The film boasts fabulous performances, creative kills, a haunting soundtrack and some horrifying moments. The climax enthralled me, even more so than Rosemary’s Baby. Also, people forget how influential this film is. While creepy kids and satanic chillers were around before The Omen, it allowed horrors to be bleak and creepy, kids were never the same after this. Sure, there was The Bad Seed, but this film associated kids with the supernatural. And while Night of the Living Dead’s ending was bleak, the ending in The Omen opened up a world of possibilities in what would happen next, and what’s more, a possibility for a sequel. Also, let’s face it, without the creative ‘freak accidents’ there wouldn’t be a Final Destination.

Sequels did follow. Three in fact. I haven’t seen Omen IV: Awakening, I have seen Damien: Omen II and Omen III: Final Conflict. While both are enjoyable none of them come close to the greatness and terror of the outstanding original. 42 years ago, audiences witnessed a terrifying film and nothing was seen like it. 42 years later, we still haven’t seen anything like it. There are 2 other essential satanic chillers; The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. Rosemary’s Baby preys on the fear of what’s growing inside of you and The Exorcist uses great practical effects and shocking images to frighten the audience. However, The Omen is a cross between the two. While there aren’t any massive uses of practical effects (aside from the decapitation scene) and there’s no evil baby growing inside of someone, The Omen uses freaky imagery from the Exorcist (who could forget the rabid dogs and the sight of the nanny shouting “it’s all for you Damien”) and also uses psychological chills from Rosemary’s Baby. The Omen is the definitive horror film. And for better or for worse, The Omen shaped modern cinema as we know it.

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