Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
I do love horror films with a juicy plot… and make no mistake, The Omen has just about the juiciest plot a horror film could have. The plot and how the mystery of it all is revealed over time is the best aspect of this remake. Well that and the cinematography. It’s so awful of me but I actually have never gotten around to seeing the original… I need to fix that, I know. But because I haven’t seen the 70’s original, this review will be solely focused on this film, without any comparison to the first.
The biggest weakness here is the first quarter where things take a bit to get going and become engaging. I always believe that it should be one of the priorities of any film to grab its audience somehow at the beginning and not take a while to interest them. With this film, you have to wait about 30 minutes or so for things to really get going.
The other weakness is that Julia Stiles and Liev Schrieber take a bit to find their groove, like the overall film. At first, they just don’t gel very well. But thankfully as the film goes on, we see better from them both.
That’s really the only complaints I have and while they don’t completely annihilate the film, they do keep it from reaching its full potential. Where this film succeeds is after that first 30 or 40 minutes. I enjoyed seeing the different pieces of the puzzle present themselves and seeing them come together. This isn’t a horror film where there’s one generic villain and everything is just run of the mill.
There are multiple scenes that incorporate unique intriguing imagery (sometimes included in visions or dreams) and I always appreciate some unique attention grabbing visuals. Things really ramp up in the second half and what I see as the film’s strongest aspects occur.
When Schrieber’s character starts to finally piece things together and sets out on a mission to discover what’s really happening is when the film is at its best. There are some truly horrifying discoveries and I found these discoveries to be so chilling and interesting, big props to the writers. Those who’ve seen the film will know what I’m talking about – the cemetery scene is so well done and fresh.
What happens in the cemetery is chilling and is an example of good writing. I really love it when a horror film not only scares but also has a chilling story to tell, and this film does that. THIS is the films biggest success – telling a chilling, interesting story about this prophecy being fulfilled and the ways in which certain evil operatives make sure it’s fulfilled. Another success is the incredible cinematography. The visuals and direction in so many scenes are just so great – obvious talent.
There are a couple scenes in particular in which I was simply amazed by the striking color and crispness of the shots. These scenes make great use of the rich locations and feature beautiful slow snowfall. Having a director and cinematographer who know what they’re doing and are capable of delivering this kind of work is crucial in film. Slow motion is utilized very well in several scenes too.
The best performance is given by Mia Farrow. Mia Farrow seems to like being in Satanic horror films… and I’m not complaining because she does so well in them! She gives a very calm understated performance as the family nanny. Her performance needed to be calm and welcoming and she succeeds in doing that, but this isn’t surprising considering how good of an actress she is.
Julia Stiles gets better as the film goes along. I really liked Stiles in the second half of the film where she has more dramatic material to sink her teeth into, but I will say that in the beginning she struggles to find her footing. As for Liev Schrieber, he mostly does a fine job, he is a talented actor and shows that in his leading role here.
The Omen (2006) is an overall pretty good film in my opinion. Is it great? No. Does it make mistakes? For sure. But I don’t believe it deserved the largely negative critical reception it got at it’s release.