The Omen

 
Directed by: John Moore
Written by:David Seltzer
Starring: Live Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, Mia Farrow, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Released: June 6, 2006
Grade: B+

On 06-06-06, the remake of The Omen was released in cinemas around the world.  The release date was no accident.  The number 666 is considered by many to be the “devil’s number”.  There are some who disagree but I’m not here to get into a religious and/or philosophical discussion.  My point is that 20th Century Fox’s creative release date and marketing campaign around the number 666 has given the film extra appeal.  When I saw this film on the opening night (06-06-06), the cinema was packed.

The story begins in a hospital.  A young married couple, Robert (Schreiber) and Katherine (Stiles), thought they would be celebrating the birth of their first son.  Unfortunately, there were complications during the pregnancy and the baby was sadly lost.  Robert is approached in the maternity ward by a strange man who presents an opportunity.  Another baby son had been born that night but his mother had died in the process.  Now an orphan, the man suggests that Robert take and raise the son as his own.

Robert and Katherine do just that.  They name him Damien (Davey-Fitzpatrick) and his early childhood brings them all much happiness.  As Damien nears his 6th birthday however, strange things start happening.  The vibrant nanny of the house commits suicide, Katherine is injured in an accident and Damien develops a creepy personality.  Robert realises something is not right with his son and on the advice of a priest (Postlethwaite), he goes on a search to find out who Damien’s parents really are.

I haven’t seen the original version of The Omen but I’m led to believe that it was quiet scary.  It was rated R when initially released in Australia in 1976 but this came down to an MA rating when a special edition DVD was released in 2001.  Is that a sign of the times?  Are we more immune to such scary and confronting themes?  I guess so.

This new film is rated MA and it’s an apt rating.  There are only a handful of scenes which will have you jumping out of our seat.  What I enjoyed most about the film is that it doesn’t rely on these “quick frights”.  There’s an intriguing story unfolding here and the sinister look in Damien’s eyes creates a very unsettling atmosphere.  It climaxes with a quick, pull-no-punches ending that sets up the opportunity for a sequel (provided this film is profitable enough).