THE OMEN (1976)
Article 3650 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-28-2010
Posting Date: 8-12-2011
Directed by Richard Donner
Featuring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner
Country: UK / USA
What it is: The Antichrist
When an ambassador’s wife’s newborn child dies shortly after birth, he agrees to substitute another child for it. However, the substitute may be more than just a child, and evidence begins to mount that it is the Antichrist.
I’ve never been quite as taken with this movie as I am with some of the other similarly themed movies from within the same ten years; both THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY’S BABY come to mind. Part of it is that I have a little problem with the powers of evil in this movie; though they can work up an elaborate death involving a storm and a lightning rod, they seem to be fairly slow about dealing with the threat of Gregory Peck. Somehow, I think the Prince of Lies would function with more subtlety and efficiency than he does here. Still, the movie gets its greatest strength by the presence of a strong set of actors, including Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, one-time Doctor Patrick Troughton, and Leo McKern; they manage to sell the movie very well. For me, the most interesting moment is the death of the nanny; in the case of all the other deaths in the movie, you know the reason for them and so they come as no surprise, but the nanny’s death comes out of the blue, and it’s not until later that you realize why she had to die. The movie spawned two lesser sequels and a remake, none of which quite had the impact of this movie, though how scary it is may depend on just how much credence you give to theories about the Book of Revelation in the Bible.
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