The Omen (2006)
By: Craig Villinger on October 31, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
20th Century Fox (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1. English Subtitles. 105 minutes
The Movie
Director: John Moore
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Screenplay: David Seltzer
Music: Marco Beltrami
Tagline: His Day Will Come.
Country: USA
AKA: The Omen 666
While I don't have any evidence to support my theory, I believe the production meeting which spawned The Omen 2006 went something like this: Studio Executive 1: "Did you know next year, on June 6, the date will be the 6/6/06?" Studio Executive 2: "Fascinating. What can we do to cash in on that?" Studio Executive 1: "How about we remake something Satanic. Like The Omen maybe? That'll sell". Studio Boss: "Great idea. Here's some money. Go make it. Just make damn sure it's finished by the sixth of the sixth next year".

Honestly, I'd like to think that it would take more than a mere date on a calendar to inspire the production of a motion picture, but with Hollywood studios remaking movies at the drop of a hat these days does the idea really sound that ridiculous? Perhaps not...

Anyways, the story should be all too familiar, but in case you aren't up to speed, here it is again: Rising US Diplomat Robert Thorn (Liev Schrieber) agrees to take in a parentless newborn after his own baby dies during childbirth – a fact which he chooses to keep from his wife Katherine (Julia Stiles) since the news of her baby's death would be too much to handle. As the years go by everything seems peachy at fist; Katherine in none the wiser, and Robert begins to convince himself that the switcheroo never took place, but after Damien's sixth birthday everything changes for the worse, and as freakish accidents start claiming the lives of those around him Robert is forced to contemplate the unthinkable – that the child he has raised as his own might actually be the devil incarnate!

Some remakes take the basic premise of a film and use it to create a whole new tale (Dawn of the Dead 04 for example) while others are quite happy to mindlessly rehash the of events of the original, believing that if they worked then – they'll work now. The Omen 2006 definitely fits into the latter category. While it's not quite as pointless as Gus Van Sant's Psycho redux, this modern take on the creepy 70's classic brings nothing new to the table, and although it is well shot, and obviously had a few dollars put into it, it is also unremarkable, unoriginal, and worst of all – boring! Irish Director John Moore seems to be building a reputation as Hollywood's go-to guy for utilitarian multiplex fodder (his previous film was the equally bland Flight of the Phoenix remake) and with The Omen he has once again delivered a visually appealing studio cash-grabber which fails to entertain on virtually every other level. If nothing else I thought the film might actually manage to scare me once or twice since they had such a great template to work from, but in honestly it seemed as though Moore wasn't even trying, perhaps thinking that the source material would do all the work for him. The film does feature a few Final Destination-ish kills which were admittedly well staged and suitably messy (although one is ruined by terrible CGI) but that's hardly reason enough to pay money for a film you have essentially already seen. Honestly, screenwriter David Seltzer – who also penned the original – would have been laughing all the way to the bank after landing this gig as it was probably the easiest pay cheque he's ever collected. A minor tweak here, a minor tweak there, and hey presto – a finished screenplay!

Some of the actors deserve kudos for their performances, particularly Mia Farrow as Damien's sinister yet sweet Nanny/Protector Mrs. Baylock, and Liev Schrieber once again demonstrates his abilities as the father who grapples with the fact that he may have to kill his own son in order to save the rest of humanity. Damien – who in one of the few formula tweaks seems to be far more aware of his evilness this time around – is adequately portrayed by Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, although he is more kooky than creepy and looked more like an irritated little brat than the devil incarnate at times. Fans of Italian genre cinema should also get a kick out of seeing Giovanni Lombardo Radice (aka John Morghen) as the priest who convinces Schrieber's character to adopt the devil child in one of the films first scenes.

If you haven't seen the original you might actually enjoy The Omen 2006 for some unexplained reason, but if you have seen the original then this inferior retread is not worth your time. Given the films conclusion (which again changes nothing from the original) remakes of Damien: Omen II and Omen III: The Final Conflict are almost inevitable. God help us all.
The Omen is a terrible film, so naturally it comes with a visually stunning transfer which can't be faulted. Presented in its correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement, the transfer is completely free of any film or video artefacts, with glorious colours and crystal clear, well defined images. Fantastic from start to finish.
Fox have released some excellent films over the past few months with only a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (The Hills Have Eyes for example), but for some reason they've chosen to give crap like The Omen the deluxe DTS treatment as well. I sampled both audio tracks, and while the DTS was the better of the two, both provide an excellent audio experience, with the rear channels and the sub woofer roaring into action when needed.
Extra Features
Director John Moore, Producer Glenn Williamson, and Editor Dan Zimmerman provide an audio commentary which is lively and full of interesting behind the scenes tidbits, although when not one of them acknowledged the fact that Giovanni Lombardo Radice had acted in classics like Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Apocalypse, and House on the Edge of the Park when the great man first appeared on screen I decided these were three guys I didn't really want to listen to. Besides, they also seemed quite happy with themselves and appeared to believe they had made a genuinely good film, which made them seem a bit foolish to me.

Omenisms (37 minutes) looked like it was going to be your usual Hollywood behind-the-scenes promo piece at first with most of the major players kissing arse and telling us how good the film is, but as the featurette continued it turned into a surprisingly candid look at the making of The Omen, showing us production mishaps, disputes, and temper tantrums. Watch for Liev Schrieber cracking the shits as a canine latching on to his arm take goes on for a lot longer than he'd anticipated!

Abbey Road Sessions is a 10 minute look at the recording of the films score and features recording studio footage and interviews with Director Moore, composers Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, and the chief executive of Fox Music, Robert Kraft.

Revelations 666 clocks in at 22 minutes and appeared to me a made for TV production (judging by the stoppages every 7 minutes or so) which examines the origins of the number of the beast (666) and goes on to speculate whether or not the devil is amongst us right now.

Extended Scenes and Alternate Ending gives us gorier versions of three kill scenes – the impaling, the decapitation, and the demise of Robert Thorne, which I assume is meant to be the Alternate Ending, although it's really just an extended ending as the final outcome is the same. The "Unrated" tag is all the rage at the moment, so I'm surprised these sequences weren't put back into the film.

A theatrical teaser, two theatrical trailers, and a trailer for the 1976 Collectors Edition DVD complete an adequate selection of extra features.
The Verdict
The devil is among us, and I believe he is sitting behind the desk of a major Hollywood studio right now green lighting another inferior horror remake. The Omen 2006 bears all the markings of the devils work, and is an almost complete and utter waste of your time, however a better than average technical presentation saves the disc under review from total damnation. Perhaps at some stage an ingenious retailer will decide to sell this DVD for six dollars and sixty six cents, and at that point it might actually be worth buying. Until then however, don't bother.
Movie Score
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