I have to warn you that there are some subtle spoilers ahead. (Or at least spoilers for people who never saw the original The Omen.)
After the first ten minutes or so, I thought that they were going to really over-play going to the sixes during the duration of the film. I think that some people are going to have a marvelous time making a drinking game of it. I’d be completely snookered by the end of the opening credits.
But thankfully, they laid off the sixes after a while and I no longer felt like I was playing a variation on the “find the Ninas” game that I play with Hirschfeld lithographs.
The best way I can describe my opinion about this film is that I can liken it to watching a volleyball game. A few dropped balls and a few good spikes evened it out to be a fairly decent film but not an extraordinary one.
One sore disappointment for me involved the famous suicidal nanny scene. As soon as we spot her on the roof, there is no second-guessing as to what she might be doing up there. One thing I really enjoyed about the original is that you couldn’t quite make out the noose around her neck until just before the jump. In this version she’s brandishing it around while she’s yelling, giving the audience plenty of time to brace for that long drop and sudden stop. And the problem I had with both versions – with a drop like that, it should have ripped her head off.
Another point of mild bewilderment involving this scene comes from the appearance of a jet black German Shepard whose arrival puts the whammy on the nanny. Beautiful dog, and a wonderful scene in a Lassie-gone-bad kind of way. But later on in the film our perky-eared friend is replaced by the classic Rottweiler and is never heard from again.
On the plus side, Mia Farrow giving replacement nanny Mrs. Baylock a lighter disposition while playing against a rather somber Damien worked out really well. While some of the lines she delivered in this remake might have slightly lost their impact, the character change was refreshing compared to the creepy nanny most people wouldn’t let anywhere near their children.
Of course, the film makes no bones about the fact that Damien simply is not just an average kid. The role is played slightly more mature than the original child and far darker in character. For that matter so is Liev Schreiber’s portrayal of Robert Thorn.
Now as far as Mrs. Thorn was concerned… well, let’s just say that she couldn’t have toppled over the banister soon enough. That scene, by the way, I have to give impact points to. Instead of the last-minute-turnaround of the original that I always found a bit cheesy, you can practically feel this landing.
All in all, I was entertained – which to be honest was far more than I expected. Die-hard fans of the original may not agree, or even consider it to be heresy to even think it, but I believe it held up pretty well for an updated version of the story.
Film information: The Omen