Review: The Omen (1976)


Directed by: Richard Donner | 111 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Gregory Peck, Lee Remmick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson, Robert Rietty, Tommy Duggan, John Stride, Anthony Nicholls, Holly Palance, Roy Boyd, Freda Dowie, Sheila Raynor, Robert MacLeod, Bruce Boa, Don Fellows, Patrick McAlinney, Dawn Perllman, Nancy Mannigham, Miki Iveria, Betty McDowall, Nicholas Campbell, Burnell Tucker, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Guglielmo Spoletini, Yaackov Banai, Leo McKern

Richard Donner’s “The Omen” is a must for fans of excitement and mysticism. The story of the wealthy family that hides a horrible secret will not let you go. Gregory Peck and Lee Remmick are well on their way as parents of a child with increasingly unusual behavior. One of the most controversial horror films.

Often underexposed, but essential for “Omen” is the musical score. Composer Jerry Goldsmith wins an Oscar with it. Bombastic orchestral sounds, intertwined with church singing, give the film something extra. Goldsmith creates a variety of emotions in the viewer. For example, if romantic violin music accompanies the Thorn family on a walk on their immense estate, you imagine yourself in wonderland. But when little Damien (Stephens) has to go to church with mom and dad, everything changes. The kid is wild about an approaching Christ figure and the rousing church music led by Goldsmith does the rest. In addition, the protagonists interact well with each other. If eyes could speak, Lee Remmick (“Telefon”) had the highest word. The beautiful blonde, with an ideal glance for horror films, plays a nice role as an ambassador’s wife. Her husband, Hollywood icon Gregory Peck (“Cape Fear”), hadn’t been part of the role for five years, but is a great performer. The combination of an old-fashioned actor and a separate genre such as horror produces surprising results. Also keep an eye out for Billie Whitelaw as the scary Mrs. Baylock, who deals with Damien’s upbringing.

Director Donner (“Superman”) shows his craftsmanship. Despite a limited budget, he makes an intriguing and smooth-running film. Donner makes frequent use of zooming in and out on the main characters, which increases the already considerable tension. Typically seventies. Donner also shows some visual highlights, such as the scene where Remmick falls down the stairs in her villa. Intriguing! The story is a series of strange events and accidents, which determine the pace of the film. A pessimist would say too much is happening. If you go along with biblical predictions and believe in the forces of good and evil, “Omen” is an ideal movie. The only miss is the far-fetched sub-story of the figure Bugenhagen, whose trolling appearance does not fit the serious nature of the film.

But the devil will not be fooled. In fact, director Donner repeatedly depicts the most terrible deaths. Anyone who is too close to satan’s skin will face a terrible fate. A lot of sense of drama and old-fashioned horror effects put you on the edge of your seat. Your stomach turns from a suicide attempt in front of a group of children playing. Thunder and lightning follows a priest further ahead, who gives the word spear extra cachet. The most exciting part is at the end of the movie, when someone tries to find out if little Damien is Lucifer’s son. You hardly dare to look! The first “Omen” film is an example in its genre. The battle between good and bad has rarely been surpassed in other productions. In addition, it is striking that the tone of the film is and remains serious. No jokes, no irony. Characteristic of a period of mental depression in America, in which race riots, assassinations, President Nixon’s deceit and a defeat in Vietnam plunge America into mourning. Watch this movie!

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