This is a decent re-make of a first class, gothic chiller. It is not, however, as creepy as the 1976 original, which starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, as it lacks Jerry Goldsmith's pulse pounding musical score. It also has a younger cast that lacks the gravitas of the original. Still, the film is still worth viewing, if only to see how it fares in comparison to the original, especially as the screenplay used appears to be the original one.
Katherine (Julia Stiles) and Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) are a young, affluent American couple. Katherine is pregnant and, while in Italy, gives birth to an ostensibly stillborn boy, a fact that is kept from her. Knowing how much his wife wanted the baby and the difficulty that she had in conceiving, Robert agrees to have the dead baby supplanted by a living newborn whose mother died in child birth, keeping this information from Katherine. They name this baby Damien.
All goes well for the prosperous Thorn family, until Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) turns five. A series of dramatic, unusual events begin to occur around the Thorns, all seemingly stemming from Damien. Well guarded by a somewhat creepy nanny (Mia Farrow), there are those who would believe him to be the Antichrist. By the time that Katherine and Robert begin to realize who Damien may truly be, their lives are out of control. With the aid of an inquisitive photographer, a repentant priest, and an mysterious man who holds the key to the destruction of the Antichrist, Robert Thorn becomes a man with a mission. Will Damien let him complete that mission? Watch this movie and find out.
Both Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles give credible performances, though they are no Gregory Peck or Lee Remick. Mia Farrow, as the nanny with a diabolical mission, gives a fine and genuinely creepy performance, aided in part by what appears to be a pair of collagen enhanced lips. The rest of the supporting cast is also excellent. While this re-make pales in comparison to the original, it is still enjoyable and worth watching.
on June 6, 2006
A re-make of the original horror classic of 1976, this film offers nothing more than the original film has already given us, besides some admittedly impressive death scenes.
This re-make is far below the standard set by the original film. The acting is stiff and stilted, with Liev Schreiber (as Robert Thorne) giving a thoroughly one-noted performance which proved to be quite frustrating to watch for over two hours. Even when he finds out about the incredibly terrible events that consistently occur throughout the film, Schreiber keeps an indifferent expression on his face. This undoubtedly makes many problems arise; how can the audience get involved in a movie if the actors are unconvincing in their roles? Julia Stiles does well, but she doesn't work in her role as Robert Thorne's wife, but Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock gives the film a bit of a spark in an otherwise dull film.
The main thing is, is it scary? Damien is creepy enough, and there are some OK dream sequences that offer a couple of good jump scares. But this is all it offers in scares. The film is basically just a re-shooting of the original scenes, except they lack the energy and tension. There is no sense of foreboding, and it's almost as if the film makers and actors were just bored and wanting to get it over and done with; it's as if they hardly cared about making a good film. What was meant to be a gripping, horrific and intense viewing experience right up to the stunning climax becomes a boring and plodding time, and you just about lose interest in the whole story, and the characters.
Overall, a very disappointing re-make, which begs the question: Why did they re-make it in the first place?
Both Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, and composer Jerry Goldsmith should be turning over in their respective graves at the illogic of making a shot-by-shot, slightly altered lines and situations, remake of the classic 1976 film. Liev Shrieber, assaying the Peck part, seems as though he's asleep throughout the film, only coming to life at the end as his "Richard Thorn" prepares to kill his son. Julia Stiles fares better as wife "Kate," trying to cope with the possibility that the child she's raising may have some sinister motives.
Mia Farrow's "Mrs. Baylock" strays quite a bit from Billie Whitelaw's in the original, by portraying the nanny as "sweetness" and "grandmotherly," revealing her true nature near the film's conclusion.
David Thewlis is no David Warner.
Michael Gambon doesn't do justice to Leo McKern's portrayal in the first film.
And Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick ("Damian") is about as scary as "The Pillsbury Dough Boy."
As far as Goldsmith's Oscar-winning score, it is interpolated during the film's end credits, and snippets can be heard throughout the "softer" scenes of the film.
However, maybe the director would've had more success if he had used Goldsmith's score in its entirety.
Gus Van Sant in his by-the-numbers "Psycho" remake was smart enough to utilize Bernard Herrmann's classic composition.
'Didn't make it a box office smash but made watching it a whole lotta more enjoyable.
on March 13, 2007
Why anyone would try to remake a hit movie like "The Omen" starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remmick is the epitome of poor judgement. This movie is a "line for line" and "scene for scene" poor copy of the original with actors who never stood a chance in reprising the roles of great stars like Peck and Remmick. I can't imagine what manner of insanity overcame the minds of those who bankrolled this pale reproduction of a timeless classic. Surely there was some other Original, unfilmed storyline waiting to be produced that their money and effort could have been utilized on? Of course, that would require the talent of creative thinking to create something new from an unused storyline and not waste time and money to copy someone else's already successful film. If the original had been a silent film or a deteriorating black and white film, I might understand the need for a remake, but this copied reproduction was a pure waste of the money and effort that went into it. Obviously, Hollywood would rather copy and piggyback on the work of others rather than relying on original creativity.... which doesn't say much for the level of talent currently directing and producing in Hollywood.
on November 9, 2008
I admit that I came to this remake with a bit of bias. The 1976 classic is one of my all-time favorite films. It was more of a psychological thriller than a horror film. This remake has some impressive photography and I did like the added scenes taking place at the Vatican. However, I felt that the original Damien was more effective as an innocent child who didn't fully understand the evil he possessed. In the scene in which Gregory Peck was about to kill him on the altar, one could understand how Robert Thorn could have doubts when Damien looked up at him and pleaded, "Don't Daddy."
This kid was so blatantly evil, it should have been a no-brainer!
And...I hesitate to bring this up, since I've made some mistakes in my own work, but...who was the fact-checker on this film, anyway? When Thorn is told to go to the city of Megiddo, he's told it's "south of Jerusalem."
Nobody on this film had GPS, or at least a map? Megiddo is NORTHWEST of Jerusalem, south of Nazareth!
Author, Chasing the Wind
on March 22, 2016
From what I gather, the marketing ploy of releasing this remake of The Omen on 6/6/06 was too good of a publicity maneuver to pass up for the studio. The movie wouldn't be so awful if they had in any way, shape, or form contributed something new other than the addition of some cheap scare tactics--most of which take the form of horrid looking masks (that don't add any depth to the story) or jump scares. The mystery of the original Omen is already revealed, so there is very little tension. What tension remains is, again, due to cheap tactics that don't revitalize or expand on the source material in any meaningful way. What kept me from giving this film one star were the performances given by David Thewlis (who occupies the David Warner role) and Mia Farrow (who takes on the Evil Nanny part played so well by Billie Whitelaw). The script is so poorly written that it's hard to know if Julia Stiles is giving a bad performance or if she's trying to salvage some depth from an already awkwardly written part. Liev Schreiber is absolutely awful, and that qualification isn't even taking into account a comparison of his part to Gregory Peck's performance in the same role.
I think the major problem lies in the conception and written execution of the story itself. At this point, we all know exactly what Damien is. In the original version, there was a slight air of mystery surrounding the child's origins and a great degree of detailed horror as the revelations were presented. To blandly reiterate the story without new angles or dimensions, that would maintain a degree of faithfulness but also expand upon a story with which we are all quite familiar, shows the film to be a very deliberate cash-grab. The direction adds nothing visually provocative. Aside from the superfluous addition of extraneous ghoulish imagery--which, had it been more relevant to the story, might not have seemed as gratuitously vulgar and pandering--the direction seems amateurish. For example, we aren't given a really lucid understanding of the mansion where the Thorn's live. While you could argue that this is to unsettle the viewer's sense of space, you need to have a certain pattern of setting in place so that the audience can actually be unsettled when the setting is changed. The direction also lacks any depth: everything is far too continuous well lit to the point that the obvious lack of thematic explorations is illumined by the visuals.
One final note about the performances: it is hard to sympathize with the plight of the parents because they never seem to exert any emotional attachment to their son or even give the audience a reason to care about their individual plights outside of their lives as parents. While Stiles's distance was an inconspicuous plot choice, and not really a good one, Schreiber relies on the dialog of his character to convey his internal conflict without actually putting any effort into creating an emotional connection; there is absolutely no continuity in his approach. Both of the leads are bad, but it does appear (and I use that word tentatively) that Stiles is at least trying. Schreiber is lucky in that his scenes are largely bolstered by Davis Thewlis's performance, which manages to be quite endearing. Mia Farrow's very convincing update of Mrs. Baylock is quite nuanced in many ways, but, and I really fault the writing here, she is written as more covertly evil without the subtlety. Given this, Farrow's performance can seem over-the-top and transparent at times. Still, she does great work with what she's given...to the point that you sympathize with her over Damien's dull, vacant, mostly unfeeling, and quasi-robotic parents.
The movie's a poor dilution with nothing new to speak of but the cheapest and shallowest contemporary horror conventions. I'm not opposed to remakes, but I find thoughtless attempts like this to be a transparent cashing in on a better film's legacy for nothing more than a profit.
on April 20, 2013
This review is not about the DVD or Blu-ray, it's about the film itself. I received an Amazon Instant Video rental of the 2006 remake free when I bought a Blu-ray of the original 1976 classic with Gregory Peck and Lee Remick from Amazon . . . a welcome feature they offer free with the purchase of many of their Blu-rays. Was a bit puzzled at first and a quick search of Amazon revealed they do not have the 1976 version in their Instant Video catalog, only the 2006 remake. Viewed it streamed to my (modest) home theater Blu-ray player and 46" 1080p HDTV. I have a very high speed connection and home network; viewing was not quite as crisp as a well done Blu-ray, but better looking with less noticeable compression than my local Comcast cable service would deliver, and certainly much better than a DVD (even with the player's upscaling). So much for the technical aspects, for which I'd give it 4.5 stars.
This gets 3 stars because this 2006 remake is not up to the level of suspense and palpable tension generated and delivered by the original 1976. I would be wondering why bothering to remake The Omen, except it's obvious as with other recent remakes (e.g. Psycho) that the producers and studios are hoping to turn profits on them by leveraging on the reputations of the original classics. The Omen was not adapted from any novel or short story (the novel was written from the screenplay and released just before the original film for marketing the film). This remake is, at best, an "update" with near zero revision of the original screenplay incorporating the current technologies of personal laptop computers, cell phones, etc. Overall it's a solid workman-like product without any serious flaws, but it doesn't emotionally deliver the sense of horror and dread the original does, even now, as I've also viewed the original again, after seeing this one. The acting of Liev Schreiber (Ambassador Thorn) and Julia Stiles (Mrs. Thorn) is good, but it's not the chemistry or level of Peck and Remick. There's no comparison between the two Damien's. The 2006 iteration leaves much to be desired as he clearly does not have or express near the evil ominousness of the 1976 Damien. Was it the casting, directing, or a combination of the two? How the 2006 actor delivers in future films will tell. The one standout is the nanny, Mrs. Blaylock, played by Mia Farrow. Her facial expressions, mannerisms and dialog delivery very clearly portray the evil ominousness Damien lacks. Remaking or updating a standout classic is high risk for everyone, the studio, producers, actors and director(s). In this one, they did not fail (other than Damien IMHO), but they clearly did not rise to nearly the level of the original, which is sad. Even without the original to compare and contrast, this film would never have garnered any Academy, BAFTA or Golden Globe nominations, but it would have fared OK in its genre with mixed to mildly positive critical response. It's the presence and comparative power of the original that has justifiably generated the mildly negative critical response to the remake.
See the original, and if you're going to buy one, buy the original, it's better overall. Rent this one for a rainy night and appreciate Mia Farrow's nanny portrayal.
on March 19, 2015
Glorified devil movies aren't really my thing and I guess it's trendy to the point they keep on making em' but I'm over this phase I guess. The older I get the less I see the need to make another movie concerning the church kneeling at the feet of hell. Not saying that the actors didn't do well, that's not the point. It's just how I felt by the time the movie ended and I'm thinking there's other movies out there that leave me feeling like being supportive is less a struggle once the credits start to roll. It's just me concerning my own conviction.
on October 31, 2006
I've never seen the original THE OMEN, so - unlike most reviewers - I'm not going to compare this movie to the original; I'll simply judge it on its own merits. Unfortunately, this film is seriously lacking in merits.
Now, I understand that horror movies are unlike other movies. Their primary purpose is to startle, creep-out and disturb. So - if the dialogue is a little mannered, or if the characters aren't fully developed - well, these shortcomings can be forgiven ... but COME ON! The dialogue in THE OMEN is *ridiculously* flat and uninspired. I do not exaggerate when I say it is as if a high school student penned the script. And, while Schrieber does a passable job with his role, Stiles generates one of the worst performances I have ever seen. She should be embarrassed. The one and only star performance is Farrow's; as the nanny, she is creepier than the anti-Christ child (and it did bring a smile to my face to see the star of ROSEMARY'S BABY cast in this film: nice touch).
The sophomoric script and vapid acting wouldn't be as noticeable if the movie were actually scary. Unfortunately, other than a few merely startling moments, there is nothing terrifying about this film. Mind you, this is coming from a woman who rarely watches horror films and is very easily frightened. I had nightmares after I watched DONNIE DARKO for the first time. However, rather than squirm with anticipation (which is the effect most horror films have on me), I spent most of this movie rolling my eyes at the laughable script and poking holes in the story's logic (Are all tombs in Italy that easy to open? How did the photographer know that the maternity ward was on the third floor? Why would an attempted child-murderer get a funeral with full military honors?).
To be fair, I did like the fact that THE OMEN attempted to create terror out of atmosphere and tension rather than out of violence and gore. But the key word here is "attempted." This movie was never able to create a sense of terror.
Basically, this is a silly film. The story is not very interesting. The acting is weak. It is not frightening. I absolutely do not recommend it.
on May 4, 2014
The Omen (2006)
This remake is completely unnecessary because the original is perfect and isn't in need of a modern update. I thought this was a cash grab and expected the worse. I was pleasantly surprised that the film was actually pretty decent if I don't try and compare it to the original. The storyline sticks pretty close to the original which makes it a bit predictable if you have seen the original but that's the only real criticism I have about the remake.
Video: The film is presented in 1:85 anamorphic widescreen. No complaints about picture quality.
Audio: There is an English 5.1 stereo track and English, Spanish, and French 2.0 stereo tracks. There are English and Spanish subtitles.
Extras: There are a fair amount of extras on this dvd. First up is a commentary track with director John Moore, producer Glenn Williamson and editor Dan Zimmerman. There is a 37 minute documentary 'Omenisms', a 22 minute featurette 'Revealtion 666' about the truth behind the number of the beast, a 10 minute featurette 'Abbey Road Sessions' about the film's score, 2 extended death scenes and an alternate ending. The dvd is rounded out with 3 trailers for the film and a trailer for The Omen: Collector's Edition dvd.