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The now legendary THE OMEN franchise has had a twisty-turvey journey thus far. Richard Donner's 1976 THE OMEN started it all, laying down a firm base. Then DAMIEN: THE OMEN II (1978) crashed in, coming off more as a slasher (and a most likely inspiration for the FINAL DESTINATION franchise) while the underrated 1981 THE OMEN III: The Final Conflict, went bold and full-on Biblical on us again. I loved what the latter did and wish the sequels had followed that story-line (even though the ending was pretty final).
Book releases mirrored the films too with the original trilogy having solid adaptations. But what about Part 4? Well there were two books written that followed the events of Part 3 (on the page and in the film). They were Omen IV: Armageddon 2000. and Omen V: The Abomination. But for some reason it's at that point the movie franchise decided to go its own way with the TV Movie THE OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING (1991). Which eventually made way for the pitiful 2006 THE OMEN remake and the now defunct TV Show DAMIEN (2015). Having recently tapped the DAMIEN TV show (entertaining but not very memorable, Barbara Hershey owning the screen aside), it had me thinking about the franchise and being that I've covered everything The Omen-related, onscreen wise that is, except for Part 4, I decided to re-visit it. Silly me... I'm still hurting!
This cheap-jack THE OMEN chapter was half directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard (the man behind the abysmal Halloween 5) who left halfway through production for creative differences (Much like Mike Hodges did on Omen 2). TV director Jorge Montesi then parachuted in to finish the picture which was supposed to launch a slew of Made for TV Omen movies at the time. Fortunately, it got killed by critics and the ratings were piss poor hence that never went down. So how was the film itself? Meh. Think a fart. It came, it stank, it left, never to be thought of again. Before I pummel this one, lets focus on the “good things”. It did sport one twisted good idea (where Delia and her brother came from); too bad they just skimmed over it. Moreover, the acting was fairly solid all around with Faye Grant (I used to have a huge crush on her in V) and Michael Woods doing solid work as the parents. On her end, Megan Leitch gave a brave show as Sister Yvonne and whom she becomes while Ann Hearn and James Mattson often stole the show! One as an endearing New Agey psychic gal and the other as a cat loving Private Eye. Fun performances!
It should also be stabbed that young Asia Vieira was mucho effective as the spawn of the spawn of Satan: Delia. She had the right look, immersive dark/vacant eyes and was credible. Bummer that the story was fairly pedestrians specially if you’re a fan of the original. It pretty much acted as a loose remake of Donner’s classic (right down to the iconic beheading scene from the first film being repeated here) but with swifter/dryer kills, zero suspense, further suspension of disbelief when it came to some character reactions (the dad's blindness to all the folks dying around him made me chuckle), a bland visual look and MUCH LESS money on the screen. Not a wise move in my opinion in terms of direction for the franchise as it begged comparison with the 1976 flick and it couldn’t compete on any level. Not even close!
Now, although I was impressed by one kill in terms of concept/staging (the wrecking ball), for the most part, the attempts at creepiness and scares were beyond laughable. For example what in the "hee-haw" was up with the cheaply “undead” looking carolers singing the Ave Satani song to an unsuspecting victim? Yeesh! Or what about the over the top character reaction shots during the Psychic Fair scene? Ouch! I spit out my fruit punch flavored Kool-Aid all over myself when them two bits arose. And that was solely two silly moments of many. Speaking of laughable, the misguided score also killed me. It sounded like it would be more comfortable in a Jim Carrey Christmas comedy than a horror film. Way too whimsical and chipper. Were they purposely trying to sink the movie with that score? For f*cks sakes! Jerry Goldsmith's ghost should haunt the shit out of composer Jonathan Sheffer for that one!
Tag to that flat lighting, way too many abrupt cuts that didn’t allow scenes to breathe, clumsy stunts bits (like Delia having become a 6 foot tall man when she almost gets hit by a truck...come on!), and a rushed/way too low key last act and you get one hell of a sad sack affair!
PS: Where were the Omen daggers? They were so prominent in all of the other movies. It was odd not to have them be part of the plot.
PPS: Was I alone in overdosing on upside down crosses imagery? Easy guys! EASY! We get it…
So yeah... sitting through THE OMEN IV wound up being quite painful. Think a BEYOND pale and chump-change imitation of a much better film! I doubt I’ll ever clock this turkey again. But hey, just my two cents! Tap it here and judge for yourselves!