Itís not easy to remake a classic, especially one about the Devil. After all, you donít want to screw it up and piss him off. But this new version of The Omen is a capable do over. Sure Liev Schreiber isnít exactly Gregory Peck, but heís in a fairly well made horror film and thatís good enough.
If youíve seen the original then you know what happens in the new one. The Omen 2006 sticks pretty strictly to the tenants of its predecessor, with the changes limited to modifying a few of the old movieís bigger scenes with modern horror sensibilities. Mostly this boils down to switching a few locations, and showing in places where the old one might only have implied. If you havenít seen the original, then hereís a quick sketch: A boy is born on 6/6/06, and heís the son of the devil. Heís the anti-Christ. His adopted mother (Julia Stiles) doesnít know heís pure evil, but she starts to wonder when the five year old boy starts inspiring people to commit suicide in her honor.
The kidís name is appropriately, Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), and whatís always been interesting about The Omen, both old and new, is how neutral Damien himself seems throughout the film. In the original he never overtly acts out, and itís not entirely certain until the end that he really is the spawn of Satan. In the new version, itís a little more obvious, but the creep factor is still there pushed by questions of is he or isnít he the fruit of the great serpentís loins.
Another critic remarked to me last night that what always freaked him out the most about The Omen was the crazed devotion Damienís followers exercise towards him. But I think if you really want to be scared to death by Damienís misadventures in parent killing, you have to come into the thing with at least some belief in the actual existence of Satan. If youíre superstitious, youíll probably walk out waiting for Armageddon to start. If youíre not, youíll still enjoy this remake, but I canít see anyone without a predisposition towards belief in the supernatural having nightmares because of it.
Thatís not because of any flaw in director John Mooreís remake; if anything I think this one does a little bit better job of ratcheting up the tension than the first one, which at times seems a little humdrum for a horror flick. The story is just something designed primarily for people eager to buy into all this Christ anti-Christ conflict. Whatever it is about The Omen that does or doesnít scare you though, this new version is a capable horror film with a quality cast and enough sense to avoid going too over the top. Moore canít resist a good decapitation now and then, but for the most part heís got enough sense to let things unfold as they should.
Reviewed By: Josh Tyler