Directed by: John Moore
Premise: A remake of Richard Donner’s 1976 film. An American diplomat (Liev Schreiber) and his wife (Julia Stiles) discover that their adopted son may be the incarnation of the Antichrist.
What Works: This version of The Omen looks more expensive than the original and has some very nice production value going for it. It builds atmosphere and it delivers a satisfying number of jump scares.
What Doesn’t: The film is a
little weak in the acting. Julia Stiles is not very convincing in her role
partly because she is not given much to do. Her rising paranoia is mostly
conveyed through some dream sequences that do provide jumps but do not
effectively forward character or plot. One of the peculiar elements of this film
as a remake is that it does very little that is new, aside from using recent
disasters (namely the 9/11 terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina) to situate
the film and Biblical prophesies in contemporary times, but the story is almost
scene-for-scene like the first Omen, and some of the scenes are almost
line-for-line and shot-for-shot like the original film. This begs the question,
why remake the film exactly as it existed? It is incumbent upon remakes to
reinvent the story or present the material in a new way, and this Omen does not do that.
Bottom Line: The remake of The Omen is not a bad film. In many ways it is very good. The scares are there, the atmosphere is successful, and the current movie-going generation who has not seen the original will probably enjoy it. However, most of what is good about the picture is taken directly from the original film and this version exacerbates the flaws of the original story instead of curing them.