The Omen Review
The Omen is a 1976 horror film directed by Richard Donner and starring Gregory Peck who plays a father who learns that his son is the son of the devil and after more and more people start to get killed, he goes to stop it.
The story is fairly simple and very indicative of its time meaning that it is rooted deeply in Christian themes, imagery and score. But this movie manages to stand on its own mainly due to its incredible detailed and meticulous approach. From the animals being nervous around the child to the number 666, from the chilling music to the nurse, from the graveyard to the creepy dogs, everything in this film filled with excellent detail mainly due to a well written, masterful script. The beginning is excellent as it introduces you to the characters perfectly, then the sequences with the priest are thrilling and of course the nurse is superb and creepy along with the dogs. But after the final act is magnificent with one of the most disturbing endings in horror history as well as one of the most memorable that stays in your memory long after you’ve seen it. Along with the ending, what struck me the most is definitely the photographer’s part in the story mainly thanks to the incredibly horrifying pictures that foresee the characters’ deaths. That was a nice touch and one of the biggest contributors to its scary nature.
The characters are well realized. The photographer is excellent as I mentioned before and Mrs. Baylock is of course the most memorable and most terrifying character here. All of her sequences are beautifully executed creating a malicious character in the process. The child is of course one of the highlights, but the mother is forgettable. Robert Thorn is naturally the finest character here because not only is he realistic in his behavior, but you can also feel his pain and sympathize with him for all the horrible things that are happening to him and his family. That is all due to excellent emotional investment which is great because this film could have easily been cold.
However, there is one major problem regarding the characters and that is that they are badly acted. Yes, the acting is the biggest and the only problem I have with The Omen. Everyone is pretty mediocre in their roles. Yes, the child and of course the nurse are great, but the mother is bad and unfortunately Gregory Peck is not that strong. He is usually a great actor, but this is sadly one of his worst performances definitely hurting the movie in the process.
All of the technical aspects are absolutely superb. The pacing is excellent and it helps the movie’s polished feel. The imagery is very memorable and creepy creating the great chilling atmosphere that the horror picture possesses in spades. Also the script is so professional and devoid of clichés and predictability which is evident in The Omen’s unhappy conclusion. And the movie is memorable in the great way because it has so many sequences that are authentic and that stand out. Also the realism factor is evident with everything happening being very grounded in its approach and execution. The cinematography and of course the directing are both incredible, but there is one aspect that stands above the rest and that is expectedly the score. What a score this is! It is so striking and powerful, excellent due to its religious, almost a cult feel and it is not only memorable, but also very well connected to the plot and extremely creepy, greatly contributing to the film’s scares.
As for the scares, this is a horror film done right. It has a wonderful atmosphere and music, excellent script and great character moments that are horrifying. The film is not scary in the most literal sense of the word, but it is chilling and creepy, definitely making you feel unease. The head decapitation sequence was too much for me, but everything else is wonderfully done and done to the right extent. It achieved the perfect tone and approach in that it is not mild, but also not too modern with too many jump scares.