Welcome to the Second Union 31 Days of Horror event! Every day leading up to Tuesday, October 31st, (starting Sunday, October 1st) we will post a review of one horror film.
Today’s Film: The Omen. Enjoy!
The Omen is directed by Richard Donner and stars Gregory Peck as a man named Robert Thorn, who, after mysterious events start occurring, begins to believe that his adopted son is not normal. After a series of investigations, he actually begins to believe that this child is the Antichrist. Now I don’t know about you, but this was the first viewing for me, and I have to say that I don’t know how people consider this a horror film. Sure, it’s a bit psychological horror, and that’s fine. But the main point that I’m trying to get across is that this film really isn’t that scary.
The film begins with Thorn finding out that his child died and he is given a decision to adopt a child. He lies to his wife and gives her the adopted child, and they raise him as without issues. But on his fifth birthday, his nanny hangs herself and other events start occurring, such as Damien screaming violently outside of a church and baboons acting up and jumping on the Thorns’ car at a zoo when they see Damien. These are perfect setups for what is to come, however, it can be a bit corny.
Some of the most effective moments come from the intriguing murder of characters, there being a line in their photo, resembling the thing that would kill them hours before it does. That is something I can get behind. It’s interesting. It’s impactful. Rottweilers barking at a duo in an Italian graveyard isn’t shocking or scary to me. However, the scene where new nanny Mrs. Baylock kills Mrs. Thorne by pushing her out of a hospital window is very, very thrilling and frightening. It’s not the action that delivers the big punch, however; it’s the eerie and chilling stare the former gives before she kills Mrs. Thorne. In fact, it’s reminiscent of Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931)
The major letdown to me was the tonal inconsistency. At times I don’t think the film is sure what it wants to be. There are scenes where it’s shocking and intriguing…and then there are some scenes where it feels dry and not interesting enough. It helps a bit that the characters aren’t making extremely stupid decisions. I mean, they certainly aren’t as vacuous as other characters I’ve seen. However, I couldn’t get behind any of them. They aren’t super shallow, but they aren’t really that interesting, either.
The Omen is a fine film in its own right, but it isn’t exactly the greatest horror film I’ve seen. It has its moments, but the overall effect is a bit lacking, aside from its relatively strong writing and pacing. I’m going to give it a B+.
The Omen stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Spencer Stephens. Directed by Richard Donner.