Bottom Line: The narrative would stand better in mini-series territory, but the film itself belongs in Hell.
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Anthony Nicholls, Billie Whitelaw, David Warner, Gregory Peck, Harvey Stephens, Lee Remick, Martin Benson, Patrick Troughton, Robert Rietty, Sheila Raynor
“Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred and sixty-six.” –Revelation 13:18
Films like The Omen are the ones that most often leave me feeling cold. Starting off, this is a film that looks like it could, in fact, be great. The nature of the first fifteen minutes is shocking and often unsettling, due to the dramatic depth every horror movie should have. But then the foreshadowing transforms into a script that yields a trivial amount of faith to coincidence, while indulging sadistically on sacrilege. Now you all know that I would never waste an entire review complaining about a film’s sacrilege. I saw no justification for severe obtuseness of the anti-Christian plot, but there are too many more problems I must address.
A major start would be the plot itself, in which a hardworking man (Gregory Peck) finds that the five-year-old son he is raising is the son of Satan, the Devil himself. The plot is so facile and hastened that to reveal much more would be opening a gateway to the ending. Other than the occasional cornball dialogue, conversations between characters make the story obvious. There is no suspense, either, which makes any sort of horror completely irrelevant, at least in the mind of anyone who won’t immediately subscribe to the contrived tale’s improbable gimmicks. Just because a kid was born on June 6th at six o’clock in the morning doesn’t mean he or she is the son of Satan, but writer David Seltzer (he would perform much more successfully as a numerologist) could severely beg to differ. Such corn is the result of a carelessly improbable script, which makes for an often laughable experience…that is, if you can tolerate the lack of intrigue.