Thursday, October 22, 2015

Film Review: The Omen (1976)

The Omen (Review)
United States/1976
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"The effective drama amplifies the terror thanks to the great execution."

An American ambassador, Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck), secretly adopts a child to protect his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), from dismay after the immediate death of their newborn at the hospital...

The Omen begins with Robert Thorn rushing to the hospital. He's informed of his child's death — a death Katherine does not know about. To protect his wife, Robert agrees to secretly adopt an orphan whose mother died at the same time — without telling his wife, of course. The couple name the child Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens). All is well through Damien's early years, the film depicts a happy family. Then, the mysterious deaths begin to pile. On top of that, Robert is warned of Damien's true identity by an eccentric priest. As the evidence begins to link, Robert begins to believe his son is the spawn of the Devil. The film leads to a decent ending — I felt some of the final scenes were a bit rushed and the final frame felt a bit off — I was waiting for some glowing eyes, to be honest.

The Omen is a great horror-drama film. The story develops interesting characters through an engaging and creative plot. Although the story isn't perfect, it certainly offers a hefty punch. It's also doused in an eerie ambiance — the atmosphere is ominous. There's some moderate suspense, some chilling scenes, and some grizzly death sequences. I really don't have too many significant complaints — except for two. I thought the film was occasionally too slow and long-winded. Although there is plenty of plot and scares to go around, it does occasionally feel inefficient. The second half of this film really picks up the pace and adds more meat to the plot. There are a few plot contrivances thrown in here, too, but they didn't bother me too much.

The acting was great. Gregory Peck was a great leading man and Lee Remick offers a great performance in her supporting role. Harvey Spencer Stephens, although limited in screen time, also shines through a creepy yet grounded performance. The film excels in the cinematography and music departments. The film is beautifully captured and the music by Jerry Goldsmith is superb — the film is worth watching for the music alone. The film is written by David Seltzer and directed by Richard Donner. The pair are working with a very creative concept, but are both lacking in efficiency. Seltzer and Donner know how to craft a chilling drama, but are lacking in balance and pacing.

Overall, The Omen is a great film. The effective drama amplifies the terror thanks to the great execution. The film leaves an impression through its audio and visual presentation as much as it does through its grimly creative narrative. However, the film does suffer from some glaring balance and pacing issues. I love slow-burn films, but this film lacks the burn to make the slow pace more tolerable – it's slow for the sake of being slow. That shouldn't stop you from watching the film, though. I strongly recommend it.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and gore.

No comments:

Post a Comment