Review: The Omen (1976)

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So, it’s been a while.  I had a busy semester.

But now I am finally on my break! And I would like to get myself back into the swing of things with a review of the last movie that I watched: The Omen (1976).

After a series of strange and disturbing events that happen after his sons fifth birthday, an ambassador named Robert Thorn starts to believe that his son, Damien, is the Antichrist.

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Obviously there’s a lot more to this story, but in order to make things less complicated, we’ll stick to that summary.

I only recently realized that Gregory Peck was Robert Thorn in this movie.  It came as a surprise to me because I’m not used to seeing someone like him (and by “like him” I mean “like the man that played Atticus Finch”) in a movie like this.  I like Gregory Peck and I liked him in this movie because it was so different than anything I’ve ever seen him in.

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I’ve seen a whole semesters worth of horror films, and I learned a lot about the horror genre.  Compared to the films that we watched this semester (The Silence of the Lambs, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween) none have really messed with my mind as much as The Omen.

This is a very psychological movie and if religion and horror is not your forte (i.e. my mom) then this movie will probably freak you out.  This is pretty impressive because there is no real supernatural experiences or events that happen in the story.  They’re insinuated (like the fact that Damien’s father is the Devil), but never present on screen.

The Omen focused on the distrust of the government and society in the 1970s.  This film was made during a really terrible time period in American history: the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, etc.  There was a lack of faith in our government (I touched on this in my review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well). The Omen placed the threat of the Antichrist right in heart of a system that was already under so much scrutiny.  Instead of the threat coming from an outsider (like in horror movies from the 1930s) the threat was coming from within our own society, from a system we’ve placed so much of our trust in: the government.

The end of this film is probably one of the creepiest end scenes I’ve ever seen.  It just adds to the dread and the feeling of no hope that becomes prevalent throughout the film.  There he is, this creepy little evil child, holding hands with the most powerful man in Western society, the President of the United States.  He turns and looks at us, and smiles.  As an audience, we know that he is aware of what he is, and with that little smirk, he’s letting us know that his reign of terror has only just begun…

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