Movie Review

The Omen

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content, graphic images and some language

Reviewed by: Taran Gingery
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror, Thriller, Remake
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
June 6, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Book of Revelation

Anti-Christ

False Christs

Messiah

Messianic prophecies

How do we know that Jesus was the Messiah?

Prophecy

Witnessing to atheists

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

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Featuring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite
Director: John Moore
Producer: John Moore, Glenn Williamson, Jeffrey Stott
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“His day will come”

Copyrighted, Twentieth Century Fox Film CorporationSix, six, six. According to the book of Revelation, that is the number of the Antichrist. What this number actually means, no one knows for sure. Some people think that it the number of antichrists that must come in the future. Others think that it represents a date, such as June 6th, 2006. In “The Omen”, it is none of these. The number 666 is in fact a birth-mark on the body of young Damien Thorn (Seamus-Davey Fitzpatrick), who is not really the child of UN Ambassador Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) and Kate Thorn (Julia Stiles), but is, in fact, the spawn of Satan and is the coming Antichrist.

Of course, Robert and Kate don’t know this at first. There are only signs, or omens, that this may be, such as the fact that Damien can’t stand to be near churches or that the monkeys at the zoo go wild in his presence or that a strange black dog (a sign of bad luck) always seems to be at his side. A priest, Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite), tries to warn Robert of impending doom, and staunch photographer Keith Jennings (David Thewlis) helps to unravel some of the mystery of Damien’s hidden past, but in the end, Damien’s and the world’s fate are in the hands of the parents.

“The Omen” is a horror film at its heart, but at times it thinks that it wants to say something profound about the state of the world. For example, an early scene hints that recent events such as the collapse of the World Trade Centers, the Hurricane Katrina, and the forming of the European Union are signs that the end of this world is near. Halfway through the film, Keith and Robert sit down to have a little chat about interpreting a few Bible passages in relation to current world problems.

In fact, on a spiritual level, the Scripture and related symbolism reign supreme in this film. Father Brennan forms a poem out of several passages from Daniel and the Revelation in his attempts to warn Robert. Also, in protecting himself from the Devil’s forces, he has covered the walls of his home in pages from the Bible and in crucifixes. When he is violently attacked by evil spirits, his response is to pray and quote Scripture. Brennan also strongly urges major characters to repent of their sins and turn to Christ, because only through His strength, can we face Satan.

Unfortunately, the forces of evil are just as prevalent in the film and more often than not are portrayed to be more powerful that the strength of God. When Father Brennan prays, no help comes, but instead the attacks become stronger. Robert is an atheist because he can’t see God in the sad story of his family’s life and the events that unfold only seem to make him more bitter. The servants of Satan seem to be everywhere, and God seems to be powerless when Damien ruthlessly begins to wreck havoc on those who love him. In a perverse twist, Satan himself seems able to have sexual relations through bestiality in order to bring Damien into the world. Even the church itself plays a hand in bringing about the rise of the Antichrist, as they see fit to help realize God’s prophesies of the Antichrist, but without God.

On a spiritual level, the film is completely messed up and theologically incorrect. On a moral level, the movie ultimately encourages us to realize that life is precious, even the life of an evil person. Even though Damien sets out to destroy their lives and even though they are both terrified, Robert and Kate remain firm in their love for Damien—a choice that would result in their deaths. Therefore, we are also encouraged to love even our enemies unto our own downfall.

Parental warnings: as far as language goes, there are two slightly muffled “F” words mentioned, but other than that, I heard nothing else offensive, not even any misuse of the Lord’s name. Violence, however, is extreme and often graphic. One character is brutally impaled and then peppered with falling glass; another is bloodily beheaded. Damien causes Kate to fall from a balcony, and we later see her wrapped in many bandages at a hospital. He also causes his nanny to commit suicide by hanging in a graphically disturbing sequences. Both Kate and Robert experience demonic visions of brief, but bloody imagery. Robert and Keith are viciously attacked by dogs. The overall feel of the film is dark and oppressive and several other scenes, while not particularly violent, are unsettling and disturbing.

So, on the whole, “The Omen” offers plenty of scares and suspense. I’ve never seen the original, so I can’t compare the two, but the acting is strong (special mention to Schreiber and Stiles), and the film is very well-made. However, the demonic theme of the film and its extremely shaky spiritual foundation prevent me from recommending this film for any Christian, in spite of its few good intentions and few positive moral lessons.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Positive
Positive—I enjoy movies with a spiritual twist, or that focus on an individual made to represent an aspect of faith. This recent remake of “The Omen” was, for me, an enjoyable experience. Whether or not you believe in prophecies from Revelations, it’s a film that dares to openly explore the possibility of what might happen in the future. Some might find it disconcerting that the focus is on evil more than good, and that good is ultimately demolished because, after all, Damien must rise to power as an adult, but for a Christian whose faith remains strong, it can be a decent means of spending two hours. It’s also be an excellent conversation starter for non-believers, not about the end times as much as faith in Christ.

The production values were very good, moving at a pace that enhanced the eerie mood rather than distracted from it. There were a couple scenes of stomach-turning violence, but for the most part this is a movie built around suspense rather than one whose only purpose is to spatter blood. The characters are well defined, and each make a series of decisions that lead them closer to, or further away from, the truth. Mia Farrow in particular was amazing, the very vision of an evil woman smiling on the surface while contemplating darkness.

I would not recommend it to those who are squeamish, because several graphic deaths transpire in the last half hour, but for anyone interested in fiction surrounding the end times, it’s a worthwhile, moody, introspective, and much more respectful to our faith than most, glimpse into the unknown.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Charity Bishop, age 23
Positive—Hell hath no fury like Damien’s scorn. Contrary to what many might believe, “The Omen” is not another “Exorcist” or “Hellraiser” kind of movie. “The Omen” is not satanic and does not glorify Satan. “The Omen” is not even a horror movie. It is made in the genre of Alfred Hitchcock and is strictly a psychological thriller.

I have heard so many people in the church come out and say “oh, I would never see that movie, it’s horrible”, however they have no idea what the movie is about. I know that I am going to get a lot of flack from those who believe that doing a movie based on the Anti Christ is totally wrong; however, my review hopes to shed some understanding on what the movie is saying.

“The Omen” is the remake of the Gregory Peck movie of the same name. Many believe that the first “Omen” should never have been remade this time around because it was such a great movie. The first “Omen” was a very clean and sharp movie with lots of chills and thrills. In many respects this is made shot for shot, with the exception of some very major differences of which I will talk about later. “The Omen” is the story about the culmination of events that lead up to the reign of the Anti Christ. The story begins when signs and wonders around the world start to take place, and the Catholic Church finally figures out what is happening. There is a boy who is born, in which manner I will not reveal, however, there is cut and dry evidence that he is the Anti Christ who bears the 666 under his hair. When Damien (the Anti Christ) is born, he is given to an American diplomat and his wife who recently lost their son at birth, the very same hour. The date of their births were June 6th, 2006.

Years later when the boy is 5, the secrets of the Anti Christ (which were suppressed) begin to come clear, and an attempt to warn the family is on the rise. Damien is protected by a nanny that is innocently hired by the family, who actually works for the devil, by the hounds of Hell and by a path that is made clear by Satan himself. The ultimate goal, allowing Damien to live and to get as close to political power as possible at a young age, so his true destiny can be fulfilled.

What really shocked me about the movie was that it was relatively biblically-based and was not a glorification of Satan, but rather a movie that alerts the viewer that Satan is real and shows an example of how he could come about. There are a couple of errors in theology, and they take liberty with how the Anti Christ is born, however, nothing that distracts from the Word of God. One of the things in the beginning that was kind of funny was that they called the Tribulation, Armageddon. It was an innocent mistake and not really a big deal. They also use the Catholic Church as the vehicle that discovers the signs and wonders that culminate to the end times. Which I think is totally fine. Catholics have always been Hollywood’s example of Christianity, therefore it only makes sense in this circumstance as well. It would not be very common to use a Baptist or Charismatic and would not be accepted by the mainstream viewer. Lastly, for the sake of storyline they attempt to kill the Anti Christ by reading scripture; we know that he cannot be killed until the Lord calls the time. These are really non-issues when it comes to intent of the movie.

I loved the fact that when the hard times started happening in the life of the diplomat, he eventually gets into the Word for the answers. People throughout the movie are searching and trying to discover the truth. Instead of looking to “The Da Vinci Code” for truth, they go the Bible. I loved the fact that the Catholic’s are not made to be nut jobs, but really the people who read the Bible and interpret the end times as correctly as possible. The movie gives its own version on how the Anti Christ is going to be raised and come about, but the path they create is not an impossible one.

I also loved the fact that they went into detail to show how much Satan himself has to play in the life of the Anti Christ, opening doors and creating paths, protecting his apprentice to take the lead on Earth. This movie shows how effective the Devil can be and how turning a blind eye to something of this magnitude is terrible.

I took a couple, who are very good friends of mine to this movie and who are also very grounded in the word. My friend’s wife, who was with us, actually did not want to go, but she decided to at the last moment. I took them because I actually want to make sure that I am not compromised even one bit in my perception when it comes to a movie dealing with biblical messages or theological history. I know that anyone who is watching a movie, can justify it because of enjoyment, even it is wrong. However, in this case, both of the people I went with were totally shocked. They actually said that this was more of a Christian movie than anything. This was backed up by the anger and banter of the crowd who were attending the screening. I heard comments like “I wanted a horror, not to be preached at,” “That movie sucked; there was no blood,” and so on. People were honestly angry, because the movie was too preachy. The other critics hated it because they felt it was boring and just a bad remake.

The part that I liked about this version as well, as opposed to its predecessor, is the fact that they made serious points to make sure the audience saw that main characters were people who were really searching the Bible for the answer. They made points of showing reverence to the Lord. They made points to show the audience that believers were not nuts, and they made an overall effort to really dull down the violence.

This movie does have some killing and death scenes. It is not a movie for kids at all. It is downright scary when you think about it from a Biblical aspect. However, if you are not a Christian, then you will be bored out of your mind. The reality aspect is really what made this movie effective. I am not one of those Extremists that go out there and say that the 666 is going to be something to watch out for, because it could be anywhere. I think that Christian’s who think that the 666 is going to be a sneaky number have to check their theology. As this movie said, you will know when you are taking it, as did some of the people who were directly involved in the hiding of the secret. The mark is going to be something people will voluntarily take because it saves their butt from tribulation, not because they are deceived into it. It’s not going to be something that you say “oh ___, my dog just got a chip under his skin for tracking purposes, maybe that is the 666”.

It’s not going to be a GPS, its not going to be credit card, and do not worry, if you have a 666 on the bottom of your cereal box, you are not going to Hell. YOU WILL KNOW, and it will be evident, if it is presented.

The acting in this movie is excellent, with the exception of Damien. This movie is not so much about Damien, but he is still kind of boring in his role. I think that the old Damien was much better. However, Julia Stiles and Liv Schreiber are both great in their roles, as are the priest and the photographers. The music score is awesome, creating a sense of fright around every corner as the great Alfred Hitchcock did so well. This movie is better than the first, and I strongly recommend that you see this movie. Just so you know, part 2 and 3 are pretty dumb movies, however at the end of “Omen 3”, Jesus does come back and takes out the Anti-Christ.

This movie is far better than “Left Behind” and will certainly reach more non-Christians. You can probably tell that I am a POST tribber, however this movie is for Pre, Post, Mid, and even Pan.

Warning to Parents: This movie is clean, and there are only 2 bad words in the whole movie. There are some very scary scenes and there are a few death scenes that are pretty intense. However, not over the top as a horror movie would do, but rather done as tastily as possible, with less blood and more music. There is one scene where you see a head get cut off, but it is so quick, and there is not a lot of blood. Just to let you know something a Muslim friend told me. When the guy does get his head cut off, he is in Israel and when the device finally swings in the area of his head, the sign in the background says “Barber Shop” in the window in Jordanian Language. That is kind of a humorous note.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—John Kehrli—Christian Hot Spot, age 32
Positive—I thought the film was very well made, and the horrific scenes in the film were not as bad as other spiritual based horror films such as “The Exorcist.” In the film, satanic forces seem to be winning, but that’s because the Beast will rise to power, and “The Omen” is only one rendition of the story of the Beast. It would make sense that Damien would be unstoppable at this point, he needs to help fulfill the rest of the prophecy, duh! Don’t forget that the original “Omen” had two sequels (minus the horrible and pointless 4th one which made no sense) which laid out the entire Beast’s existence and purpose. The dream sequences were terrifying and yet tasteful, the film was not gory like “Saw” or “Hostel”, nor was it sexually graphic. The film was scary in a sense that the audience was seeing a frightening biblical prophecy take place. What reaction would one expect from the story of the antichrist’s coming? The film was a warning to believers and non-believers. Heed the Omen, what side of the Cross are you on?
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—George, age 20
Positive—As a previous commenter pointed out, evil appears to be winning because that is what is really going to happen, for a time. Revelation explicitly states the beast WILL come to power. This does not mean that God is powerless or uncaring, He is simply allowing the prophecies of long ago to be fulfilled. The movie only occurs over a short period of time, and remember, Satan will have dominion on earth for an extended period before Christ comes back. The movie in no way attempts to say that God won’t win in the end just like He says He will! Overall, I thought “The Omen” was an excellently produced, well acted, thought-provoking film.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Bill, age 29
Negative
Negative—I know a lot of people are saying this film might “wake up” some people about the anti-christ. The only thing I really can think of, about the making of this movie, is how does this movie effect the young actor playing Damien? I really dislike how Hollywood uses people, especially children, to attempt to make money, while at the same time implying they have a greater purpose for the film. If you want to see a good movie that explains about the anti-Christ, try the “Apocolypse” series or “Left Behind” (where the people who made these films have their hearts in the right place).
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Regina IanoI, age 38
Comments from young people
Positive—All I can say is that this movie was amazing and I plan on seeing it a second time this week! The acting was great and the plot had the whole theater on edge. I’ve seen several movies like this one and I must say that “The Omen” is my all time favorite. For people who enjoy this genre of films, I recommend this movie, you are in for a treat. And for those of you who oppose this genre… well, you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Jason Cristoph, age 17