Omen (2006)


A Bad Seed for a New Millennium

Main Cast: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick

Director: John Moore

Plot Summary: The end of times is nigh. The child of the devil is born on 06/06 and given to a human family, a diplomat and his wife. As the husband tries to track down the boy’s history, his stepmother tries to deal with the fact that he is evil incarnate.

Okay. So I’ve always wondered about these good vs. evil, or God vs. the Devil, movies. How come the devil always gets to meddle with humanity with pretty much a free hand, while God either goes for subtle hints or, in the case of this movie, no help at all? Perhaps God really does agree this time and humanity should be wiped out.

This is a pretty silly movie, the horror and ominous music notwithstanding. But I will admit that it’s effective, with skillful plot design and two “gotcha!” moments that even got me, a jaded horror-film watcher. The acting is solid, with Julia Stiles leading the pack. The young boy playing Damien (Davey-Fitzpatrick) doesn’t have to do much other than look scary, and succeeds. David Thewlis plays a tabloid reporter with consummate skill. Which leaves the lead: Live Schreiber plays Robert Thorn, the husband. He’s a bit wooden. What I can’t blame him for is the character, who is dense and stupid to the point of frustration. How he ended up Ambassador to the United Kingdom is a profound mystery. I guess the Devil works in mysterious ways.

The movie begins with a birth. Or, more the point, a birth and death. A baby is switched (which happens to be the Devil’s son), but doesn’t come into his own until, you guess it, he turns six. Up ’til then I presume he was fairly normal. He looks it, from the home movies they play to show time passing. And, boy, does he turn strange. His mother pretty much disowns him (kinda sorta), but she isn’t taken seriously. I guess that’s the influence of the devil. I use this phrase a lot because people do things in this movie that defy logic and reason. I’d like to think it’s because of outside influence, not inborn stupidity. After a number of strange and bizarre things happen, including the mother going into the hospital, the husband Ambassador finally gets moving. And here’s another question: how can this important man go flying off around the world on personal business? I mean, he *is* the Ambassador, after all!

(Oh, before I wrap up, two notes: Mia Farrow is by far the best spark in this movie, eerily cheerful and full of menace; and the actor who played the housekeeper on my favorite TV series, England’s As Time Goes By, makes a brief appearance as a housekeeper.)

But I let logic cloud my judgment again. This isn’t about that, it’s about feelings: terror, ominous signs, and pretty much the end of everything. Bummer. Oh, well. Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t mind a bit of goofiness, as well as enough plot holes to drive a truck through, then you will kinda like this movie. It is skillfully done. Faint praise, but praise indeed. 2 stars.

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