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The Omen - horror/sci-fi DVD review
THE OMEN rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Actors: Predrag Bjelac, Carlo Sabatini, Bohumil Svarc, Liev Schreiber, Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Director: John Moore   Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 17 Oct. 2006   Runtime: 110 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; Spanish, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Commentary by director John Moore, producer Glenn Williamson & editor Dan Zimmerman, "Revelation 666" & Abbey Road Recording Sessions featurettes, Unrated extended sequences & ending, Omenisms Documentary, Trailers

The original film released in theaters in 1976 spawned three sequels: Damien: Omen II, Omen III: The Final Conflict, and Omen IV: The Awakening, begging the question: Was there really a need for a contemporary remake? With the source material having been explored in three additional movies, you would think there would be no need to dip a toe into that pool once more. That's not to say this is a bad movie. In fact, the remake stays pretty faithful to the original, with only the beginning adding anything new: the use of World Trade Center collapse, Hurricane Katrina, the devastating 2004 Indonesian tsunami, and space shuttle Columbia disaster footage shown as signs of Armageddon.

The story remains the same: Kathy Thorn (Julia Stiles) gives birth to a stillborn baby. Her husband, Ambassador Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber), knows this will devastate her, so he gives the okay to use an orphaned baby as a substitute. In a quick montage, little Damien grows from infant to an extremely creepy five-year-old. At his birthday party, it becomes apparent something isn't quite right when the Nanny calls out to Damien just before she hangs herself (Damien gets a replacement nanny played by Mia Farrow, who as Rosemary had a baby that was less than perfect). Eventually, Robert comes to the realization that his son is the Antichrist, and that he must kill the boy in order to save mankind from a cataclysmic demise.

Technically, there is nothing wrong with this film. The performances are all good enough, and the death scenes (all of them from the original are in there) are no more appalling or elaborate than in the original. It simply is an updated version of a thirty-year-old film. Perhaps that is a good thing though, as the story relies more on characterization and less on flash. It might not be as Gothic or creepy as the original, and you might yearn for the performances of Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, and maybe, just maybe, the boy who played Damien in the original had a bit more evil in his grin, but in the end, it's essentially the same movie with modern actors.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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