Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Review: The Omen

The Omen remake, beautifully shot and adequately scored (though a far cry from the Jerry Goldsmith original), would have worked better as a film if 1) they had picked a better child actor to portray Damien, and 2) there had been less of the "jolters" that stupid American horror films are known for. The original Damien, Harvey Stephens, looked more subtly sinister, not having to frown and narrow his eyes (and not even having to say anything). Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, 2006's anti-Christ, awkwardly fumbles over getting the right expression of petulant evil (he never does) and has an annoying saccharine voice that rivals Jake Lloyd's. I felt some pity for Stephens when he had to be killed, but with Fitzpatrick...I was inwardly telling Robert Thorn to get on with it and end the world's misery, anti-Christ or no. The original film did not have any of the shockers that make viewers jump out of their seats, relying instead on Goldsmith's diabolical soundtrack ("Ave Satani," anyone?) to convey a sense of evil and dread. Why did director John Moore have to assume the modern formula of "more shocks, more scares?" Save that for teen-scream movies.

The other principal actors do a fine job in their respective roles, with Mia Farrow being particularly good as the nanny from hell, Mrs. Baylock. I just wish we could have seen more of her in her hysterical, maniacal glory. Grade: C+

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