The Omen (also known as The Omen: 666) is a 2006 American supernatural horror film directed by John Moore and written by David Seltzer. It is also a remake of the 1976 film of the same name starring Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles and Mia Farrow.
Robert Thorn, an American diplomat stationed in Italy, is told that his son was stillborn. Unknown to his unconscious wife, Katherine, Robert adopts an orphaned newborn at the suggestion of the hospital's chaplain Catholic priest, Father Spiletto. Naming him Damien, Robert and Katherine raise the boy. Robert's career ascends over the course of the next five years. He is named Deputy Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the United Kingdom. Following the death of the previous ambassador, Robert assumes his position and settles in a large estate just outside London. However, disturbing events begin to occur, including the suicide of Damien's nanny at his birthday party.
Robert is approached by Father Brennan, who claims to have been involved with events surrounding Damien's birth. Meanwhile, photographer Keith Jennings finds that several of his photographs contain mysterious omens, including premonitions of people's deaths. A new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, is hired. Tension rises when Mrs. Baylock starts to make decisions without the consent of the Thorns, including adopting a Rottweiler for Damien's protection.
Following an incident near a chapel in which Damien attacks Katherine, she begins experiencing vivid dreams about her son, one of these involving a red-hooded jackal skeleton. When the Thorns visit a zoo, the animals react violently at the sight of Damien. Katherine begins to wonder if there is something wrong with Damien. Father Brennan confronts Robert, telling him that Damien's mother was a jackal, and that the boy is the Antichrist. He explains that Damien must die and a man called Bugenhagen (Michael Gambon), located in Megiddo, can assist. After being rebuked, Father Brennan is killed during a lightning storm.
Katherine discovers she is pregnant and is determined to get an abortion, in fear of having a child similar to Damien. Soon afterward, Damien causes an accident in which Katherine is severely injured, resulting in her miscarriage. While recovering in the hospital, Katherine confides in Robert her suspicions that Damien is evil. Robert decides to rendezvous with Jennings and search for Damien's biological mother. The pair discovers the hospital where Damien was delivered has since been demolished after a fire. They travel to Subiaco and meet Father Spiletto, who directs them to a graveyard. There they find the grave of Damien's mother, who is revealed to indeed have been a jackal. In the neighboring tomb, Robert discovers the corpse of his murdered biological son. He and Jennings are attacked by a pack of dogs and barely escape.
Mrs. Baylock visits Katherine in the hospital and causes her to have an air embolism, killing her. Learning of Katherine's death, Robert goes to Megiddo, meets Bugenhagen, and receives instructions on how to kill Damien on consecrated ground with seven sacrificial daggers. Bugenhagen tells Robert to examine Damien for a birthmark in the shape of three sixes ("666"). However, Robert refuses to kill his son, and throws the daggers on the ground. While reaching down to pick up the daggers, Jennings is suddenly decapitated by a falling sign.
Robert arrives home and is attacked by Mrs. Baylock's Rottweiler, which he subdues. In Damien's room, he finds the 666 birthmark. Mrs. Baylock attacks Robert, but he fends her off; after running her over with his car, he escapes with a silver Lexus GS. Pursued by the police, Robert flees to a church to kill Damien, but is killed before he can by a Diplomatic Protection officer.
As the Pope simultaneously dies, Robert's funeral is attended by the President of the United States, who holds Damien's hand. Damien then looks at the audience and smiles as the credits roll.
- Liev Schreiber as Robert Thorn
- Julia Stiles as Katherine Thorn
- Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock
- Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick as Damien Thorn
- David Thewlis as Keith Jennings
- Pete Postlethwaite as Father Brennan
- Michael Gambon as Bugenhagen
- Giovanni Lombardo Radice as Father Spiletto
- Harvey Spencer Stephens, who portrayed Damien in the original movie, has a cameo role as a reporter
The principal photography of the movie began on October 3, 2005 at Barrandov Studios in Prague, Czech Republic, where the film was mostly shot. The "Jerusalem" scenes were filmed in Matera, Italy and some of the London scenes were shot in Herbert Park, Dublin.
The score was composed by Marco Beltrami, using cues from Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-winning score for the original film. All tracks were also written by Marco Beltrami.
Release and reception Edit
The film was released on June 6, 2006, at 06:06:06 in the morning (i.e., 2006-06-06 06:06:06). This symbolically represents the number 666, the biblical Number of the Beast. The marketing campaign for the movie also based itself around it.
Box office Edit
The film recorded the highest opening Tuesday box office gross in domestic box office history in the United States, by earning more than US$12 million. It ended grossing US$119,498,909 worldwide, making it a strong success on a budget of US$25 million. It finished as the 59th highest-grossing film of 2006, the 12th highest-grossing R-rated movie of 2006 and the 2nd highest domestic gross of The Omen series when adjusted for inflation.
Critical response Edit
The film received mixed reviews. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 27% based on 165 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Even with the force of a "classic" behind it, remake fever can't hold up the hollowness of this style-drenched Omen." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
James Berardinelli commented: "On every level, The Omen isn't just bad filmmaking, it's bad storytelling". He especially criticised the film's similarity to the original film, which he also greatly disliked. Rolling Stone also made the latter point: "Not since Gus Van Sant inexplicably directed a shot-by-shot remakeof Hitchcock's Psycho has a thriller been copied with so little point or impact".
Roger Ebert gave the film "thumbs up" and three stars out of four, in contrast to his negative review of the original, praising John Moore for letting the strong story unfold itself rather than foregrounding visual effects. The Washington Post's Stephen Hunter praised the film: "It's handsome in the way it's fast-moving: sleek, well-engineered, full of gooses and honks. Some of the casting seems a little off. Still, it works."
Other assessments from critics include:
- "John Moore's remake can't help but feel a bit stale." – BBC film review
- "This film is for people who've never seen the original, and who are easily scared by mediocre horror films"- Eric D. Snider
- "Director John Moore has added some creepy visuals and assembled an unusually strong cast for a horror flick." – New York Post
- "Competently made, and enjoyably played. But you do really end up wondering what the point was. Cinematic déjà vu is the most likely response." – Empire Magazine
While Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick's performance did win him a Chainsaw award from Fangoria magazine for "Creepiest Kid", David Thewlis was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007, but lost to M. Night Shyamalan for Lady in the Water.
Home media Edit
The film was released in the US as a Region 1 DVD on October 17, 2006. It was released in the UK as a Region 2 DVD on October 23, 2006. It was released in Australia as a Region 4 DVD on March 7, 2007.
The film was released on Blu-ray on November 14, 2006.
In April 2016, 20th Century Fox announced that a prequel film titled The First Omen was in development with Antonio Campos signed on as director.