Robert Thorn the American ambassador to Great Britain watches his wife's pregnancy when a priest tells him that his newborn has died, but he convinces him to substitute the baby (the wife not knowing) with another child that lost its mother in labour at the same time. Watching their young child growing up, he starts show unnerving signs, which the parents slowly start picking up on and also bizarre tragedies start occurring. This leads Robert on a whirlwind investigation that all points to his son being the Anti-Christ.
Right off the heals of 'The Exorcist' successful stint with moviegoers comes another one of those endless 70s religious themed horror flicks involving Satanism. 'The Omen', I'd definitely say is one of the better horror films in the shadow of "The Exorcist', but I'll even go to say its an vast improvement over it's influencer. That might be a surprise for some, but I found this film superior as it was more entertaining, fascinating and truly creepy in its context and shocks. Everything about it has a knack for falling into place. From the impending doom that's achieved by its coldly layered atmosphere to a premise that teases the viewer on how it's all going to play out. I won't deny that it seems silly enough when you pay close attention to it all, but with such conviction in the performances and that off confident direction, these factors makes sure that it doesn't slip overboard into cheesy daftness. Another stroke of brilliance would be Jerry Goldsmith's memorably, nerve-wrecking score with those explosive chants scattered throughout.
On a grand scale the film was efficiently catered with well established cinematography and polished set-pieces that had penetrating might, which director Richard Donner handled with precise skill. Even when there wasn't much happening he knew how to keep things compellingly tight with good pacing and impressible imagery. Though, when it came to the essential thrills, he caps off some remotely tense (dogs' attack) and macabre moments (infamous decapitation) that display bite and flair. The climax is great and the ending is a fitting imprint too. The plot is filled with shocking revelations, interesting characters and it emits a glorious amount of excitement and dread from it mysterious outset.
The performances are that of top quality by a stellar cast. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick are convincingly excellent as Mr and Mrs Thorn. David Warner turns in a marvellous performance as the photographer Keith Jennings. Then Billie Whitelaw is genuinely creepy as Damien's nanny Mrs. Baylock. Patrick Troughton is superb as the withering Father Brennan. But my applause goes to Harvey Stephens' who's the epitome of evil
well; he definitely looked the part and had a memorizing awe as Damien. Although, Peck deserves more credit really, as he brought such devotion to his character that we honestly feel the pain and confusion that hits home.
One of the true benchmarks of horror, along the same lines of 'The Exorcist', but for me it beats that film all ends up. Expect a devilishly good time!
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