This apocalyptic movie mostly avoids physical gore to boost its relatively unoriginal storyline with suspense, some excellent acting (especially from Warner and Whitelaw), and a very deft, incident-packed script.
Antichrist Superstar is among us, he has the appearance of a 5 YO child. It is commendable as a film with a few special efects manages to generate tension and fear to the viewer, despite its calm rhythm. The most striking element is the score composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Enough for excel The Exorcist.
Ambassador Gregory Peck finds that he's adopted the Antichrist (and he's a cute little feller too), in the slickest of the many demonic thrillers that followed in the wake of The Exorcist. Richard Donner directs more for speed than mood, but there are a few good shocks.
The Omen is a dumb and largely dull movie. No true connoisseur of kitsch will confuse the work of writer David Seltzer and director Richard Donner with the masterpiece of psychic manipulation contrived by William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin in The Exorcist, not to mention what the diabolical Roman Polanski made out of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby. [12 July 1976, p.69]
To give this film a chance, the ideal is to forget the logic a little, because the script and the plot don't have much logic and, if we start thinking about it, everything falls apart easily. I felt it after seeing the movie. And believe me, the film is tense and a little scary, and it will be worth giving it a try. It was for me.
It all starts in a hospital in Rome, where the son of a senior American diplomat based there has just died at birth. Luckily, or just by chance, a young Italian mother also dies when she gives birth to a healthy baby boy. The diplomat then decides that he will be the father of that orphaned child and raise him as his own. It turns out that, over the years, the young boy seems to be accompanied by unusual characters and a scary dog, and dark things and deaths happen when he is around.
Well, the film is not that good as the story is somewhat unrealistic and it all sounds quite exaggerated, but, placed in the context of horror films in general, there is no doubt that it scares more than many CGI loaded films and skips that are done now. Unlike the films of today, which are based on the amount of jumps they can cause, it is a film that feeds a lot on the environment and the permanent tension, slowly built up. That works for me a lot better than making me jump in the chair. The actors' work is also quite good. Gregory Peck was already a veteran and did an excellent job, he is quite credible in his role and his growing doubt about his son's nature seems truly real. Lee Remick is also a good actress. She gives good support to Peck and her work gets even more interesting as she demonstrates her character's growing depression and anguish. Billie Whitelaw is truly scary and an important addition to create suspense and intensify the film. David Warner was fine, but I found his character weak and not very credible even by the standards of this film. Patrick Troughton was quite credible in the role of a priest who lost his mind, but he also has a debatable character.
Technically, the film is not a masterpiece but it met my expectations. Richard Donner was a good director and guaranteed good editing and post-production work, good footage and camera work. The film is a little dated: cinematography, a little faded, colorless and uninteresting to our eyes, was very common in the films of the Seventies, and the clothes, hairstyles and cars are from that decade too. But I handled it well, after all today's films will also look dated some fifty years from now. Of all the production values I would highlight especially the good filming locations and, above all, the extraordinary soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith, winner of the Oscar for Best Soundtrack that year. It is rare, but sometimes it happens in horror films that we find a soundtrack that can, in fact, make the film even more frightening.
I don't know if this film has already reached the status of classic or cult, but I think it deserves to be revisited today. It is not a pearl, it will not mark anyone's life, but it does what a horror movie should do: mess with our fears and make us feel uncomfortable to the point of make us feel nervous if we hear a noise in the room while we see it.
This film is so schlocky I love it. Its definitely a classic. Obviously you know it's about the devil's son and his younger years. Directed by Richard Donner of the Lethal Weapon movies the film pulls bo punches with its wild death set pieces. From a babysitter who hangs herself and crashes through a window to one hell of a decapitation by glass and even more. But what makes the film so effective besides the fine performances all around is the way in which the material was approached. In the beginning it's very much like a family drama and when it does become more it never tries to be scary it instead develops in truly shocking and freakish ways. The movie holds up and it's easy to see why it was a hit and spawned at least two good successful films.
Domestic Box Office: $61m
Worldwide Box Office: $61m
The Omen, directed by Richard Donner (director of The Goonies and Superman) and starring Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn and David Warner as Jennings, is an absolutely fantastic promoter not alone for the supernatural-horror genre, but for the film industry itself. Due to a fabulous duo and supporting cast, all who perform exceptionally, the visually stunning violence is encapsulating and completely unpredictable.
The film is a supernatural, horror film, centered on the Anti-Christ/Spawn of Satan, who takes the form of a human boy. Off the synopsis alone, you know it'll be hard to get it wrong.
The film is renowned for its enlightenment on the number of Satan, the triple-six (666). Based off readings in the bible, The Omen captures the pure essence of supernatural-horror, and, despite the antagonist being a small child, it can become truly terrifying thanks to a great psychotic demon-bodyguard One of the best finale sequences I've yet to witness and should (if it even can) not disappoint
Une bonne ambiance diabolico-maléfique dans ce premier opus de la Malédiction qui exploite habilement les textes de l'Apocalypse et sait faire monter l'inquiétude et en même temps la fascination que peut exercer sur tout un chacun (croyant ou non) l'avènement de l'Anté-Christ et son cortège de superstitions vieilles comme... la Bible.
Le scénario est plutôt solide (sauf à la toute fin... hélas) et fort bien supporté par un Gregory Peck dubitatif puis déterminé à lutter contre le Malin en compagnie du journaliste d'un naturel très curieux des phénomènes... surnaturels (le très bon David Warner). Jerry Goldsmith a composé un excellent thème sinistrement satanique mais le reste de sa musique sombre beaucoup trop dans le criard désaccordé et caricatural.
Et l'autre souci non négligeable concerne une lenteur générale qui nuit sensiblement au rythme : quelques coupes auraient vraiment été les bienvenues parce que ça rame pas mal tout ça. De bonnes idées en tout cas mais pas forcément aussi bien mises en oeuvre qu'on aurait pu l'espérer.