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The UnPopular Opinion: The Omen (2006)

Oct. 30, 2013by:

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Happy Halloween everyone! I love this time of year when we can all watch really cheesy movies and jump out of our seats without worrying as to whether or not the movies are Oscar caliber. Frankly, most horror movies are pushed aside close to the porn and looked at as the lesser films available. Only on October 31st will everyone open themselves up to being scared without judgement. But, there are some horror films that transcend the genre and will forever be a part of pop culture and cinema history. With movies like THE EXORCIST, ROSEMARY'S BABY, or even THE SHINING, that is because the filmmakers behind the camera brought something unique and special to the movie. Sometimes that magic cannot be recaptured (see remakes of FRIDAY THE 13TH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET as examples), but sometimes the remake is able to achieve something the original could not. THE OMEN is one of those remakes.

Richard Donner's original THE OMEN was released in the middle of the Cold War and capitalized on the ongoing fear of the impending Apocalypse. While today's end times scenario in film usually leans towards zombie infestation or a massive asteroid hitting earth, the seventies was prime ground for religious themed horror. THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY'S BABY did it to great effect years before and THE OMEN continued that trend. Donner's film was one of the first to show a decapitation on screen and had some classic horror moments that we remember to this day. But, THE OMEN was deeply rooted in the era in which it was made. It feels dated and doesn't carry the same horror that it did thirty years ago.

Worst Cialis ad ever.

Now, I praised Gus Van Sant's PSYCHO remake in this very column for being a bold cinematic experiment to recreate a classic. The 2006 version of THE OMEN is not an experiment but rather an update to the first film. After three sequels, including one that was straight to cable, THE OMEN had fallen into the same genre stereotypes that most horror franchises get stuck in. While it could never undermine the first film, it was a good time to try and see if the magic could be recreated on the big screen.

Director John Moore (A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, MAX PAYNE) is not someone you would consider a step up from Richard Donner, but he does a good job making THE OMEN respectful to it's source while adding to it in positive ways. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick are replaced by Liev Schrieber and Julia Stiles which some would consider a step down in cast. Schrieber, who also starred in the excellent remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, takes a much more involved role as Richard Thorn, the U.S. Ambassador who learns his adopted son is the spawn of Satan. Stiles plays the rattled mother who doesn't trust her son with a quieter paranoia than Remick did in the original.

A deleted scene from ROSEMARY'S BABY II

But, it is the awesome supporting cast where THE OMEN comes alive. Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, and Mia Farrow all take roles played by relative unknowns in the original film. You would think this may detract from the film's overall creepy factor, but having these recognizable faces just drives it home a little more. Donner's THE OMEN is unsettling in the evil power of Damien while Moore's THE OMEN hits you in the face with the supernatural horror. The signature moments feature the nanny suicide, the death of Thewlis' character, and the Devil dogs all are here and are reminiscent of the original, but the added scenes of subliminal evil are what gives this take on THE OMEN a little extra nudge in the scary direction.

Whether it be the red hooded visage of a man with a horse skull or a creepy priest dropping a child's toy, Moore injects his take on THE OMEN with more direct scares. There is a school of thought that I usually subscribe to that what you do not see on screen can sometimes be scarier than what you do. While Donner's THE OMEN has a sense of foreboding that creates a tension through the film, you never really got to see anything beyond some cult-like followers and the 666 tattoo on the kid's head. I am not one for telegraphed scares, but Moore lets the story of THE OMEN do what it needs to and doesn't inject any unnecessary special effects or gore. Instead he relies on the tension in the screenplay and the setting and jabs at the viewer with quick flashes and brief disturbing imagery.

Drop it like its hot...oh, god!  Is that a fetus?

And of course there is little Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick as Damien. In Donner's version, Damien is a quiet boy with a creepy face but you can somewhat believe he is just a normal kid. This Damien is clearly the son of the Devil. Davey-Fitzpatrick has more dialogue in this film, delivered in whispers with a level of knowing who and what he is that was missing in the original film. I felt kind of bad for Damien in Donner's take but this updated character is definitely on the evil side of things. His enhanced relationship with his new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, drives home the cabal of evil dwelling not far from the public eye.

If it came down to a choice for a Halloween night between Donner's classic and Moore's remake, I think I would choose the 2006 version. Either version of THE OMEN will creep you out on a spooky night, but the remake has just a little more polish to really drive home the horror.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
 
Recent UnPopular Opinions:
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DREDD | EVENT HORIZON | FANTASTIC FOUR
Source: JoBlo.com

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8:10PM on 10/30/2013

I usually think this section is clever

But this was just blasphemy. It's not that the writer likes the remake, it's the reasons he gives to do so, they seem to come from someone that has a really poor taste in movies.
But this was just blasphemy. It's not that the writer likes the remake, it's the reasons he gives to do so, they seem to come from someone that has a really poor taste in movies.
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2:18PM on 10/30/2013

It isn't horrible but...

all of the subtlety of the original is lost in slick visuals and obvious contrivances. They had Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick playing Damien as knowingly evil kind of like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You have no sense of benevolence about the characters before the evil kicks in so you don't have a stake in them. The great thing about the first two Omen film is that Damien was a benign child whose destiny he was developing into and that made it creepy. In The Omen 2 the character struggled
all of the subtlety of the original is lost in slick visuals and obvious contrivances. They had Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick playing Damien as knowingly evil kind of like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You have no sense of benevolence about the characters before the evil kicks in so you don't have a stake in them. The great thing about the first two Omen film is that Damien was a benign child whose destiny he was developing into and that made it creepy. In The Omen 2 the character struggled with the inevitable until embracing it. The progression of evil lent more drama and involvement into the character for me. Also, the fun of The Omen films was always the revelation of who was one of Damien's minions because it wasn't always spelled out for you like in the remake.
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1:20PM on 10/30/2013
"all take roles played by relative unknowns in the original film."

Are you on crack? Patrick Troughton, Billie Whitelaw and David Warner were not "relative unknowns" when the original movie came out in the '70s. Some of them had been making TV and movies for *decades* by that point. Troughton had even played the lead role in Doctor bloody Who. Whitelaw had worked with bloody *Hitchcock* by the time 'The Omen' rolled around.
"all take roles played by relative unknowns in the original film."

Are you on crack? Patrick Troughton, Billie Whitelaw and David Warner were not "relative unknowns" when the original movie came out in the '70s. Some of them had been making TV and movies for *decades* by that point. Troughton had even played the lead role in Doctor bloody Who. Whitelaw had worked with bloody *Hitchcock* by the time 'The Omen' rolled around.
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11:58AM on 10/30/2013

A neutral opinion...

Alright, in this sea of negativity, I'm going to come out and say this isn't that awful of a remake. Pointless? Oh yeah. They used the same script. But this article does point out a few things: it has a good cast (minus Stiles), the cinematography is pretty slick, and it's a fun, decent watch. But yeah, it doesn't add much to the original.
Alright, in this sea of negativity, I'm going to come out and say this isn't that awful of a remake. Pointless? Oh yeah. They used the same script. But this article does point out a few things: it has a good cast (minus Stiles), the cinematography is pretty slick, and it's a fun, decent watch. But yeah, it doesn't add much to the original.
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10:03AM on 10/30/2013

O:

The original Omen is brilliant film making. This movie is trash. There is nothing good in this movie.
The original Omen is brilliant film making. This movie is trash. There is nothing good in this movie.
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9:37AM on 10/30/2013
The article is called "Unpopular Opinion" Sooooooo it's obviously going to have films that most do not like. People really need to calm down. The great aspect of film is that different people will connect with different films, for different reasons. In film school I was given some blank stares when I told people I hated certain films that are considered masterpieces, in film school, but I don't care because I have "a reason" for liking or hating a film. Even if a film has an actor/director that
The article is called "Unpopular Opinion" Sooooooo it's obviously going to have films that most do not like. People really need to calm down. The great aspect of film is that different people will connect with different films, for different reasons. In film school I was given some blank stares when I told people I hated certain films that are considered masterpieces, in film school, but I don't care because I have "a reason" for liking or hating a film. Even if a film has an actor/director that I despise, I'll still give it a chance. Working in the business for ten years has taught me to think this way and I hope others will feel the same. The writers are doing their jobs and I think Joblo is doing a great job.
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11:49AM on 10/30/2013
i agree
i agree
1:31PM on 10/30/2013
I do too, well said mate!
I do too, well said mate!
9:35AM on 10/30/2013
I'm going to be that guy.

The movie was shit and I didn't ever watch it.

Although I did see a horrible scene w a CGI gorilla flipping out over Damien at the zoo while flipping channel.
I'm going to be that guy.

The movie was shit and I didn't ever watch it.

Although I did see a horrible scene w a CGI gorilla flipping out over Damien at the zoo while flipping channel.
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1:56PM on 10/30/2013
The movie was shit and I didn't ever watch it.

That's always the wrong way to go...
The movie was shit and I didn't ever watch it.

That's always the wrong way to go...
+0
8:18AM on 10/30/2013
I'm not one for remake hate. Some of my favorite movies are remakes and I won't do it now. This movie was just okay for me... not terrible or anything. And since movies are subjective I won't bash this like everyone else is. Besides, also, how can a movie be unnecessary beauses it's so similar to the original and simultaneously be awful without that implicating the original as well? In any event, I love this column. If we all agreee on movies it wouldn't be fun to talk about them.
I'm not one for remake hate. Some of my favorite movies are remakes and I won't do it now. This movie was just okay for me... not terrible or anything. And since movies are subjective I won't bash this like everyone else is. Besides, also, how can a movie be unnecessary beauses it's so similar to the original and simultaneously be awful without that implicating the original as well? In any event, I love this column. If we all agreee on movies it wouldn't be fun to talk about them.
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8:13AM on 10/30/2013
Yikes.....this column just keeps getting worse and worse.
Yikes.....this column just keeps getting worse and worse.
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7:52AM on 10/30/2013
This remake was so bad that the director even had to rip-off the balcony fall shot.

BTW please lighten up people, it's just an opinion piece even if you think it's ridiculous.
This remake was so bad that the director even had to rip-off the balcony fall shot.

BTW please lighten up people, it's just an opinion piece even if you think it's ridiculous.
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7:51AM on 10/30/2013
This Omen is horrible. There's no point in remaking the classic if you cannot beat the classic. Same goes with The Fog remake. Both are pointless remakes. I'd choose the original The Omen over this tasteless remake any day.
This Omen is horrible. There's no point in remaking the classic if you cannot beat the classic. Same goes with The Fog remake. Both are pointless remakes. I'd choose the original The Omen over this tasteless remake any day.
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9:37AM on 10/30/2013
There hasn't been a good horror remake since The Blob in the 80s.
There hasn't been a good horror remake since The Blob in the 80s.
9:47AM on 10/30/2013
Hear hear. That and Tom Savini's Night of the Living Dead.
Hear hear. That and Tom Savini's Night of the Living Dead.
7:50AM on 10/30/2013
No I hated it. Watched on 6/6/6 (pure gimmick)
You're not supposed to laugh that much at a "horror". Plus the kid didnt look evil just a mischievous little scamp
No I hated it. Watched on 6/6/6 (pure gimmick)
You're not supposed to laugh that much at a "horror". Plus the kid didnt look evil just a mischievous little scamp
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7:32AM on 10/30/2013

That's what's wrong with this site!

The writers seems to love praising terrible movies on this site, really when down the pan when the newer writers came on board! This is just another example of the writers on this site not having a clue what they are talking about.
The writers seems to love praising terrible movies on this site, really when down the pan when the newer writers came on board! This is just another example of the writers on this site not having a clue what they are talking about.
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9:03AM on 10/30/2013
Burn this article to the ground
Burn this article to the ground
9:30AM on 10/30/2013
you read it. you're here. they're doing their job. go back to flippin' burgers.
you read it. you're here. they're doing their job. go back to flippin' burgers.
+4
7:23AM on 10/30/2013
Ridiculous! Whats next? Praising the remage of John Carpenters "The Fog"? I dare you to!
Ridiculous! Whats next? Praising the remage of John Carpenters "The Fog"? I dare you to!
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7:32AM on 10/30/2013
The writers on this site are a joke!
The writers on this site are a joke!
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