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"The Omen"

Directed by John Moore.
Written by David Seltzer.  Based on the 1976 film of the same name.
Starring Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, David Thewlis and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  6/5/06


Last week, I went to check out a freebie for "The Omen" because I wasn't quite sure I wanted to drop real cash on this one...but, in terms of a pleasant surprise, this remake of the 1976 horror film isn't too bad at all.

That's because I loved the freakin' kid.  As Damien, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick (as Japanese a name as there ever was, in my opinion) seems to only have to do one thing: squint and look innocent as he does it, which amazingly he is able to ride all the way through the film's conclusion.  I have not seen the original, but in the new version, Damien is the son of an American diplomat (Liev Schreiber) and his wife (Julia Stiles) in London, and the day the kid turns six years old, REALLY weird shit begins to happen.  Could this be tied to the film's intro prequel, where members of the Vatican convene to discuss the fact that a lot of weird shit is going on all over the world on the exact day that Damien was born six years ago?  Or maybe the fact that Mom is having strange dreams that always seem to feature REALLY weird shit?

I kind of liked the mix of horror and thriller elements involved in "The Omen"; while never aspiring for greatness, the storytelling is paced well, the bodybags are well spaced out (and sometimes VERY bloody), and there are a couple of good jumps placed in moments of prime scaritude (might be a word).  I liked the performances of the leads, but bits by name actors like Pete Postlethwaite (continuing his career decline after that horseshit from "Aeon Flux" as Guy in White Jumpsuit in Space-Age Hot-Air Balloon) and Michael Gambon as a crazed devil-killing consultant both really suck.  Mia Farrow is fun, though, as the disturbingly-protective new nanny Mrs. Baylock.

But, the best part of the new film certainly has to be Davey-Fitzpatrick and a variety of strange imagery that makes up Mom's dream state.  I think the best thing about the Damien bits are that you never really get the sense that Damien is happy any more, but people keep telling the parents how cute Damien is, even though he doesn't smile at all after turning six years old (well, almost never...).  After some initial scenes detailing what a pleasant child Damien is in archival footage--mostly home videos--I love that he's not smiling any more, but everyone is always like "Oh, your Damien looks so cute" even though he is wearing the same scowl all the time.  Hilarious.

Hey, at least "The Omen" is rated R and stays true to bloody horror.  Otherwise, this one was just okay.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09