The Omen (1976)


An American diplomat adopts a newborn baby but a series of bizarre deaths and the warnings of a terrified priest lead him to believe that his son is the anti-Christ.

Subtlety has never been Richard Donner’s strong suit and in his painfully hokey old school Gothic horror, over-egging is most definitely the order of the day. From the intrusive and clumsy soundtrack to the deeply unconvincing sets and poor makeup effects, The Omen is like a compilation of everything that went wrong with Hammer horror films. Gregory Peck’s earnest hero is a dreary protagonist and the concept of his “saving the world” by murdering a five year old does not sit well at all. The film’s few saving graces lie with the supporting cast; young Harvey Stephens’ Damien is an undeniably creepy presence, Billie Whitelaw’s nanny from Hell is entertainingly psychotic and both David Warner and Patrick Troughton provide all of the best moments including a couple of inventive deaths.

This is not enough to save the film however, which has dated very badly indeed. Old fashioned, overly melodramatic nonsense.



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