2 May 2016 | urthpainter
Thank you A&E... Really!
As a particularly opinionated connoisseur of the horror genre, I fully recommend this version of dark prophesy and the emergence of the Anti-Christ. While far from perfect, many things are done extremely well at this early point (seven episodes) of the series.
I'm a fan of serious horror movies like Rosemary's Baby, Exorcist III, Jacob's Ladder, (the wildly underestimated 2005) Stay, and the Omen films from which this show draws inspiration. There are seeds of all of these films present in Damien - with minimal jump scares, frequent disorientation, and a wonderful atmosphere of growing terror.
Damien continues the legacy of the Omen movies, and does so utilizing footage directly from the first classic for story development. Anyone who has seen the Omen knows there are truly memorable moments that have earned a place in the lexicon of the horror genre. Damien lives up to the best parts of these films and is a fine example of the current era of great television. The brief synopsis is all one needs to know: Damien Thorn, a man who has been drawn to the darkness of humanity his whole life, but somehow is always protected from physical harm, must come to terms with the growing reality of his true identity, the Anti-Christ.
Production is solid, with top marks given to lighting. Darkness, strong shadows, and contrast are always present, at times unrealistically - but there is consistency to the look and feel that adds to the unsettling nature.
Casting is also excellent. Everyone is convincing, including the two leads, who were clearly cast for both ability and photogenic qualities. Damien's best friend may be the weakest link, but this speaks to the strength of the major players as a whole, because he's pretty good! Barbara Hershey and Scott Wilson have to be the real treat. Both are right at home, delivering top notch performances. Hershey emotes the love of a mother with truly sinister flair, and Wilson channels his best Donald Pleasence. Without this cast and their hard work, this show could easily be half as good. To this point, this show is certainly not for everyone. Some who can not suspend disbelief may find Damien tedious, even laughable. I too laugh aloud at moments, perhaps when I shouldn't - but I've always been like this with serious horror films, having a certain glee absorbing unspeakable content.
And what wonderful content! This show is not politically correct - throwing religious practice, emergency rooms, psychiatric wards, and military veterans hospitals all under the bus. Damien is not made to do any public service, but to entertain, and I applaud the unflinching approach. Meta scores be damned! Clearly this show is made for audience approval and not reviewers, who have become difficult to trust without first forming one's own opinion.
This is just the beginning too! With time to grow into multiple seasons Damien could really be special, and find a singular place. There is plenty of horror schlock, and murder saturated TV, but a serious supernatural thriller should have a place. Thank you A&E (didn't think I'd be saying that!).
Impressed and eagerly anticipating more, 8 out of 10