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The First Omen
      review by Bobby Blakey

In 1976 late director Richard Donner unleashed evil with his film The Omen. The film launched a franchise with numerous sequels, a remake and TV series. Now they are heading back to where it all began with the latest entry, The First Omen serving as a prequel to the original film. The film stars Nell Tiger Free, Tawfeek Barhom, Sonia Braga, Ralph Ineson, Charles Dance, and Bill Nighy from director Arkasha Stevenson. Could this new chapter do the original film justice, or should it be exorcised from existence?

The First Omen follows a young American woman who is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, where she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her own faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate. 

I love horror films, but not usually a bit fan of haunting and possession films. Most of the time they just don’t deliver and while there are some classic greats like The Exorcist, Amityville and The Omen. All of these are good films, but not ones I ever found all that great from a horror standpoint. I get some of it is the time period of its release and I have always found them to be well done and enjoyable films just never connected with them as a fan. I did rewatch the original Omen to prepare for this one and enjoyed it more than I did previously so was looking forward to seeing where they took this new chapter.

One of the things I enjoyed about the original film was the subtle approach, leaving some elements to the imagination and getting you to question if Damien was evil or not. This latest film leans into the supernatural aspect a lot more and worked for me more than I expected. It keeps a similar pacing to the original so spends a lot of time moving slowly with gems dropped in from time to time before the big finale. I say for this story I preferred that approach of going all in despite

some of the moments not fully delivering.

This film not only served as a lead into to the events of the original film, but also get more deeper back story to what is really happening within the history of the Anti-Christ in this world. There are a couple of over-the-top gore scenes that I loved and really let you know that this film wasn’t holding anything back and yet it still played other moments safer than I would have preferred. After one specific sequence that I cannot begin to explain here without spoiling it, they opened the flood gates to do whatever they wanted, but still held some back.

The acting was good across the board, and I did enjoy it quite a bit despite the slow pace. It could have been trimmed a bit for the story they told, but it does give a payoff that I felt does the original film justice. I have no doubt it will divide hardcore fans, but think it still stands as a decent new place in the franchise and opens the doors to more in an original direction should it choose to.


Decide for yourself and check out The First Omen in theaters now from 20th Century Studios.

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