And, here we are again, and this time…. It’s a double-feature! The Omen + remake. Yeah, that’s right. Since I’m a big fan of the original, I bought the ‘Ultimate Collectors’-edition containing the whole original series (I-IV) plus the remake, so what better than to give you my ¢12 on them both, starting (of course) with the original. The film was written and directed by David Seltzer and Richard Donner respectively. It stars Gregory Peck (Robert Thorn), Lee Remick (Katherine Thorn), David Warner (Jennings), Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Baylock) and Harvey Stephens as the now infamous Damien. The movie received widely positive critical response and is considered as one of the best films of 1976 and with a 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.6 score on IMDB, I dare to say that it still holds up in the audience’s eyes. But… on to the movie at hand!
The premise; When the son of an American diplomat (Peck) dies at birth, he secretly adopts an orphan child, in order to save his wife (Remick) from any unnecessary heartache. When after being appointed U.S Ambassador to Great Britain, a bunch of unexplainable events start to plague the family. When after the nanny publicly hanging herself (with the famous line; “Look at me Damien, it’s all for you.”) at Damien’s birthday-party, a new nanny arrives, claiming that “the agency” sent her and let me tell you… This bitch is crazy!!
I’m not here to talk about any specific events in the film or what happens when and how and so on, but what I am here to talk about is the movie… and it is a Masterpiece! The opening-sequence alone is enough to give you nightmares, and the ominous music (Ave Satani – composed by Jerry Goldsmith) was nominated for Best Original Song at the academy Awards.
Add to the equation the scene when the dog is searching for Mr. Thorn at the end of the movie and you hear that creepy chanting in the background (which is the one of the creepiest scenes I have ever seen), some fantastic directing (Richard Donner is a true genius behind the camera), amazing talent from the actors (especially Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock) and a pinch of terrifyingly scary writing (Hats off to Mr. Seltzer), this is one movie that most surely is going down in history as one of the creepiest and scariest films of All Time. It spawned 3 sequels (with some rather convenient sub-titles, Damien: Omen II, Omen III: The Final Conflict and Omen IV: The Awakening) and earning itself remake in 2006. But how did the remake fair in comparison to the original? Let’s find out shall we..
First off, it was given a sub-title; The Omen: 666, like that was really necessary? No, I don’t think so! The remake was written by David Seltzer just like the original, and directed by John Moore. This time around, the characters of Robert and Katherine Thorn are played by Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles and Mrs. Baylock and Damien are portrayed by Mia Farrow and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. As far as a remake goes, this one was not very well received, with a 43-rating out of 100 on Metacritic, 27% Fresh-rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.4-score on IMDB. But how was it received at the T.T-headquarters? Well, I have to say that we were not disappointed.
For all intents and purposes, the remake is pretty much the same movie, only having been under a serious make-over. It does however give us a few additions to the original, where as we get to see for example how the fire that burns down the hospital gets started and the priests unraveling the prophecy, all in order to drive the story, to put it as “real” as possible, but other than that…. well, I’m not here to divulge scene after scene for you, so I’ll just let you see for yourselves. That is, if you haven’t already seen it.
Furthermore, the thing that puts the two movies apart really, is that where the original film relies on suspense, the remake puts all their trust in the visuals, therefore robbing us of the true Omen-experience. That’s fine and dandy for all of you who’s in to that kind’a thing but it’s just not for me (IF I had the option of course). Sure, there are some suspense present, I’m not denying that at all… but when you watch the original, you get goosebumps off and on pretty much the entire movie and that effect is just not around in the remake, sadly.
And the acting in the remake… wow! I don’t really know how to put it in words. The only actor I feel is doing somewhat of a good job is Liev Schreiber. The rest of the cast is stale, half-assed and boring. But they did manage to get a kid who’s Almost as creepy looking for the part of Damien, but just Almost!
And… there’s really nothing more I can say about the subject, without going all technical and what not, but that’s just not my thing, so I’m gonna leave you with these final words. If you haven’t seen any of’em, see the Original first, and only after that,you can make the decision to watch the remake. Even though the remake isn’t all bad, it has nothing on the original, that’s just a straight up fact!!
So, that’s it for tonight then… please tune in tomorrow, where we’ll be taking a loot at a little more spookier than werewolves, vampires and devil-babies! But until then…. Always watch the original of ANY movie before watching a remake, it’s just common sense!