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The Omen

His Day Will Come 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Omen

Director: John Moore

Starring: Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, Pete Postlethwaite, Mia Farrow

The Omen is a film that went down in cinema history, and yet its auspicious position as one of the greatest horror films ever made was quite surprising considering it was originally created as a quick cash-in on the success of The Exorcist. What is so great about this version of the evil-child formula is the inclusion of some truly spectacular gore, a far more sophisticated and unnerving working of religious element and the explicit global and political connections. At this particular time in our history (global political climate rather than June the sixth release) the more films, especially horror films, which use fantasy to engage with the very real fears of our collective psyches the better.

The makers of this version show how well aware of they are of the media bombardment we now receive and instead of simply using MTV style editing they took the atmosphere and plot of the original and instead imported modern cultural reference points such as recent near-apocalyptic news items and popular stars like MTV generation’s Julia Stiles and British character actor Pete Postlethwaite (brought in to fill the shoes of British character actor, and sixties’ Dr Who Patrick Troughton). We are even treated to a blast from the past with Rosmary’s Baby star Mia Farrow playing the creepy anti-Mary Poppins figure, Mrs. Baylock. Damien himself works so well as an idea that occasionally when he is updated you will find yourself laughing out loud, such as a sequence in which he terrorises his precariously positioned mother with an onslaught from a push-scooter rather than a Shining-esque tricycle. But otherwise the near shot for shot approach to remakes is far more successful in this instance than in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 version of Psycho. The Omen remains true to the openly commercial and accessible intent of the original, dusting off Damien for what a cynic might see as a date related marketing ploy, but what is a successful update.

Alastair Binnie

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)