Movie Review by Dan Spiers
Starring: Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite
Director: John Moore
It is the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year and, predictably, we have a remake of the 1976 horror classic, THE OMEN. Sadly, other than a priceless marketing opportunity, there seems to be little reason why Damien is throwing his nanny of a roof now than in, say, 1996.
Director John Moore has attempted to update the story. He references Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and the war on terror. Brace yourself, the apocalypse is coming.
The Thorn Family is younger, and so the difficulties in raising the Devil’s child more keenly felt. Katherine Thorn’s (Julia Stiles) distrust of her son is more explicit and her attempts to come to terms with this – she visits a psychoanalyst – quite engaging.
And there are nightmares. Yes, hackneyed nightmares in which Katherine dreams in red and white of her son holding a hangman’s noose. They are edited at speed and punctuated by the most ear splitting of noises. The original OMEN had the majesty of Carmina Burana. This OMEN just has white noise.
But the white noise does work. It does make you jump. This is most effective in the graveyard scene when Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) tracks down his real son. As in the original the characters are attacked by devil-dogs, but instead of encircling their prey, the dogs suddenly appear, visually and sonically bludgeoning the viewer.
And this says a lot about Moore’s OMEN. It is louder, faster and brighter than the original. But not better. It benefits from a bonkers performance by the alabaster skinned Mia Farrow as the satanic nanny but is handicapped by Damien (Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick) who is more surly than satanic. The original Damien looked distinctly mental. But this little chap looks like a child that Mary Poppins could’ve straightened out. Umbrella or not, I wouldn’t have fancied her chances against the other one.