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The Omen (2006)

I first saw the original The Omen as a teenager alone one night at home. It was one of the more frightening experiences of my childhood (though the scariest movie will always be for me The Exorcist). Even watching it again a few years ago, it remained unnerving, a minor horror classic with classy, earnest performances by Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Patrick Troughton, Billie Whitelaw and Holly Palance.

This year's version (greenlit solely to take advantage of the admittedly clever release date - 6 June 2006) recreated the Richard Donner original almost scene-by-scene, though not a shot-by-shot as I understand the remake of Psycho did a few years ago. A couple of the deaths were different (more explicit, though not more effective), a couple of obligatory scary dream sequences added, but essentially it was a faithful rendering of the original, down to the music cues adapted by Marco Beltrami from Jerry Goldsmith's 1976 themes. And yet, or perhaps because of this, it seemed entirely perfunctory. The plot points were enumerated with minimal atmosphere and rarely was there a moment of real tension. You know there's something lacking when - in the scene where Thorn and Jennings are digging up the grave of Damien's mother and Thorn's real son - all I could think of was when to best jump in with "Smithers, release the hounds!".

Actors of calibre - Liev Schreiber, Pete Postlethwaite for instance - ran through their performances in by-the-numbers fashion. Julia Stiles, never possessing the warmest of screen presences in any case, was particularly flat and undeserving of her top billing. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was obviously cast for his looks, giving the creepiest kid movie stare since The Tin Drum, but even Damien's overtly evil countenance lacked the cherubic ambiguity (as I recall it) of Harvey Stephens.

And yet, returning to an empty, unfamiliar house at midnight after watching the DVD while away on holidays, was unsettling ... so the movie must have had something going for it. Even if it was just a viewer with an overactive imaginati

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 8, 2006 8:41 PM.

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