The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: The Omen (2006)

John Moore

Liev Schreiber - Robert Thorn
Julia Stiles - Katharine Thorn
David Thewlis - Keith Jennings
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick - Damien Thorn
Mia Farrow - Mrs. Baylock
Pete Postlethwaite - Father Brennan
Giovanni Lombardo Radice - Father Spiletti
Michael Gambon - Bugenhagen

Genre - Horror/Thriller/Supernatural/Satanic

Running Time - 110 Minutes

U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Italy Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) deals with personal tragedy as his wife Katharine (Julia Stiles) loses their baby on June 6. The news of the child's passing is kept from her, due to Robert feeling she wouldn't be able to take it since she really wanted a child. A priest at the hospital gives Robert an option: either tell Katherine the truth, or trade his stillborn son for a healthy one, whose mother had passed away during birth. Wanting his wife to be happy, Robert agrees to the trade and names their son Damien.

Five years pass, as Robert and Katharine are loving parents to Damien (
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) in London, England. During Damien's 5th birthday party, his nanny decides to hang herself in front of all the guests. Stranger things continue to happen, as Damien freaks out on the way to church - as well as zoo animals acting scared of Damien. The Thorns hire a new nanny, Mrs. Baylock (Mia Farrow), to take care of the boy. Baylock knows who exactly Damien is, and plans on guiding him towards his destiny.

People continue to die around the Thorns, such as a scared priest (
Pete Posthethwaite) who believes Damien is evil. Keith Jennings (David Thewlis), a journalist, has taken photos that show how certain people in their lives will die. After much investigation, Robert and Keith find out the truth: Damien is the anti-Christ and plans on taking over the world.


I have three words for THE OMEN (2006):



- Some of the acting. While THE OMEN (2006) should have never been made [and I will get to that soon], at least it's held together by mostly a strong cast of actors. Liev Schreiber doesn't carry the presence or charisma that Gregory Peck did in the original film. But Schreiber is still a good actor and makes the most of playing Robert Thorn. He's watchable enough, but seems a bit miscast in the role. Julia Stiles handles herself better as Katharine. Lee Remick is still great in the original, but Stiles seems to care about the role and makes her dislike and fear of Damien pretty believable. I also like that the remake actually gives her character more to do in terms of Damien, allowing Stiles to play the character differently than Remick a bit.

David Thewlis is great as Keith Jennings. He plays the role just as good as David Warner did in the original. He's very charismatic in the role. Pete Postlethwaite does well as Father Brennan, although he wasn't given much to do but act desperate and scared. But he makes the role sympathetic. But the best actor was definitely Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock. Inspired casting, due to Farrow's iconic role in 1968's ROSEMARY'S BABY, Farrow has a ball playing the evil nanny for the son of Satan. She's one of the main reasons to even bother with this remake.

I can't hate on the acting all that much. Most of them had to live in the shadow of the other actors who played these iconic roles, but they leave unscathed and do their best with the material. Definitely a major highlight for a bland film.

- The direction. I had trouble whether to put this in the HITS or MISSES column, since the visual presentation was very 50/50 in my opinion. But I put it on the positive end because the direction by John Moore was competent enough. The film looks polished and nice [it should for $60 million] and it's visually pleasing. The CGI is handled well and some of the more action-laced scenes are done nicely. I also loved the dream sequences, that were very Stanley Kubrick in nature. These were very trippy and cool, adding much needed creepiness to the film. I thought these were the best visual moments of this remake.

And while the pacing is uneven as hell [the middle 'investigation' act drags on, putting me to sleep literally], the production design being too polished that the film ends up being less real than intended, some of the same shots being used like in the original, and the tension and suspense isn't as strong as it is in the original, I don't think the direction was all that terrible. Should it have been better? Absolutely. But the film has bigger problems than the visuals, so I'll put the direction in the middle of the spectrum for now.

- The story. While it's not that much different than the original [it pretty much uses the same screenplay as the 1976 version with subtle changes], David Seltzer [who also penned the original] still created an interesting story about good vs. evil. How can I hate the exact same story that worked in 1976 that still worked in 2006? I wish it was a bit different - maybe certain characters that lived in the original dying in the remake - or something that sets it apart from the film its based on. I do like the addition of dream sequences that involved Damien being at the center of them all. I also appreciated having Katharine dislike Damien once the strange things began to happen, feeling a disconnect from her own son. It gets worse when she becomes pregnant again and she wants an abortion, due to Damien's effect on her. It's sort of implied in the 1976 film, but we see it play out more here, which I appreciated quite a bit. It gave the character more to do and made her fear of Damien more real and convincing. Other than that, the narrative plays out exactly the same as the 1976 film. Obviously I think this is a huge issue that hurts this remake, but it's a good narrative. So again, I can't hate on the story it wants to tell.

- It's pointless. On the flip side, not changing the narrative in a substantial way makes THE OMEN (2006) pointless as all hell. It's like that stupid PSYCHO remake - it's the same story, with the same characters, doing the exact same things within the same events. What's the point?

And while the narrative didn't change, other elements brought it down. While Schreiber and Stiles were good in their respective roles, they really had no chemistry with each other. For a loving married couple, they were colder than a popsicle. The 1976 THE OMEN gained its human strength from the chemistry of Peck and Remick, making you feel for them as they were tricked into adopting this evil child. You don't really get that here, as Schreiber plays it kind of cold and Stiles being more concerned about her fear for Damien. It may be the same story, but it changes the dynamics for the worse.

Also, there are no surprises to be had here. Sure, some deaths are a bit different here, but they're not necessarily better. If you've seen the original film, you know exactly what will happen here. Some moments are even shot-by-shot with the original. Who thought this was a good idea? I know this was made because some marketing genius saw "June 6, 2006 (06/06/06)" and felt it was the perfect date for a remake of THE OMEN. That's fine. I get that. But at least put some care into the product you're marketing! Change the script a bit. Give the characters new motivations or even different things to do that still fit within the same narrative. Using 9/11 [which I still feel is tacky] isn't the way to make THE OMEN modern to a demographic who may have never seen the original. Other remakes have used the same narrative as their originals and still managed to breathe some new life into those films. Look at THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003), HALLOWEEN (2007), and DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004). Even A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) and FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) managed to do different things, while keeping the same story intact - and I wasn't even a big fan of those films. Hell, I would have taken a remake only by name over the exact same film as the one I've seen from 1976. At least it would have had more of a point than this film does.

- Less effective classic sequences. Again, here we have the exact same moments from the original play out the same way in the remake. Only this time, they're not as effective. The suicidal nanny scene in the remake doesn't effect me in the same way as it does in the original. It's still a good moment, but there's no "oomph" to it. The church scene was done better in the original. The zoo scene had more drama in the original. In the remake, it's missing tension. Katharine's fate is different, and not for the better. The original had a great exit for the character. Here, it's just whatever. Even the final act feels a bit off. I don't know what happened here. Was it the direction? The acting? Both? None? THE OMEN (2006) just felt stale and nothing felt powerful to me. That's not good.

- The score. Marco Beltrami tried to best Jerry Goldsmith here, but it doesn't work. The soundtrack just felt flat to me. I didn't think it was a complete mis-fire - some stuff was pretty good - but the film itself wasn't able to match up to what Beltrami was trying to do for it. With no visual tension or suspense, there was nothing for the score to enhance to a higher level. It's a shame.

- Damien Thorn. I won't blame young Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick for his portrayal as Damien. I'm sure it wasn't his fault that Moore directed him to look at emo as possible to portray "evil incarnate". But it's because of how he's visually portrayed that ruins the character for me in the remake.

In the original, Harvey Stephens played Damien as a normal kid who just happened to be evil. He was angelic and innocent looking, always smiling and acting like nothing was up. That made his character deep and interesting. Here in the remake, you know right away that this kid is evil as hell. He has an expressionless face and stares at people with menace and coldness. That makes him dull because he's one-dimensional now. Tension is gone. Suspense is no longer needed. He's just an evil kid, instead of an evil kid under the guise of an innocent little boy. For the main villain of the film, there's nothing interesting about Damien at all.

THE OMEN (2006) is no substitute for the 1976 it's based on. This remake was only made because of a marketing idea, forgetting that it needed to entertain audiences at the same time. Even with decent acting, polished visuals, and a narrative that still works after all these years, there's nothing else worth watching this remake for. You're better off just watching a much superior movie from the 1970s than wasting your time on a modern take that happens to be the same as the old version but with a different crew. THE OMEN (2006) will sit in the WTF? Vault, where it can be in Hell with the rest of the crap that's been put there. Just a pointless remake - which may be the biggest movie sin of them all.

1 Howl Outta 4


  1. Wow, I had no idea they actually remade The Omen. Great publicity campaign this must have had!

    1. Yeah, it was promoted pretty well from what I remember. I don't mind that they remade this film, especially to be released on the perfect date. But they could have made it somewhat different from the original film. So the remake just comes off as a marketing ploy rather than a film people are going to remember years from now. I think it did do some decent box office, but it wasn't really favored in any way. Still, you gotta love publicity.


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