Omen on 06/06/06

Remakes of classics are usually a damn if you do damn if you don’t situation. Therefore, with a degree of apprehension I went to the local cinema at Gateway Mall to watch the film on the first day of its worldwide release June 6. 2006, 06/06/06. I went to watch the 2:30 screening of the film at Gateway. I did not expect many people because it was competing against the X-Men, The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, and Manay Po (a Joel Lamangan film that was well tempered but not exceptional about family life and homosexuality - so far the best Filipino movie I have seen so far is still Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros). Maybe because it was the first day at the cinema or because a lot of the younger people have not yet watched it the cinema was full; there was only two seats left when I bought my ticket - blowing away my last hard cash before payday. Anyway, I was on holiday. The choice was D1 along the aisle or one seat at the back of the cinema. So I took D1.

The cinema was really packed. I even saw some familiar faces. Not friends but people you often see lining up with you to purchase the tickets every time you went to watch the film. If you go to watch a movie, often you get become familiar with the faces of the ticket girls but your fellow punters.

I first watched the film at the home of my cousin using a betamax player. It was one of those films that will frighten you and somewhat leave you a bit disturbed. Unlike Dracula or the wolf man one can go home after the movie assured that it was just fantasy. This movie like the Exorcist had some grain of validity to it. It taps into a more primeval fear than the Da Vinci Code’s lies and conspiracies by the church. It taps into the fear of the malevolent one and a prophecy found in one of books in the bible.

The Anti-Christ. It talks about the ascension of Anti-Christ and the mark of the beast, 666. This film is a remake of Gregory Peck and Lee Remick film about how a US Ambassador (Peck) slowly and horrifying discovers that his (adopted) son is the Anti-Christ. Filled with biblical prophecies, gruesome deaths, and a chorus diabolique it probably is one of the best horror/suspense film of the time. Damian (Harvey Stephens) aided by malevolent forces, a nanny, a couple of demonic rotweillers, and Jerry Goldsmith’s Ave Satanii made an indelible mark on films.

The remake is faithful with the original, almost scene per scene it is a remake of the original. The movie improves upon the characters of the original. Notably the use of Mia Farrow, an alumnus another devil movie Rose Marie’s baby, as the nanny-minion of Damien. The new Damien, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, seems to be not as scary Harvey Stephens but he is creepy. In addition, the original Damien does make a cameo in the movie as one of the tabloid reporters. Although one would have trouble recognizing him, not only because of his age bit because in the original movie they had to straighten and dye his hair black in order to make him more sinister. Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles portray a more contemporary coupled troubled with an adopted son born of a jackal. Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, and Michael Gambon are also in it and dominate the scene that they inhabit.

It is amazing watching the film in a packed cinema house to see and participate in the reactions of the filmgoers to the twist and shockers of the movie. Each shriek is often followed by a re-assuring chuckle. One sign that the movie is a good adaptation it can still shock them, even if they know the story.

The story does suffer from a few aspects. It lacks the dark feel. And this is because they used a new soundtrack. Part of the success of the original was the use Jerry Goldsmith’s Ave Satanii, which only makes an appearance at the end of the story. In addition, a couple of scenes were more powerful in the original movie - for example, the scene at the zoo with Baboons attacking Damian’s car was effectively scary. Moreover, I sort of preferred the old look of the daggers of Meggido.

Still the movie is an enjoyable watch. A good cast, a story that does not deviate from the original, a fresh coat tastefully done on a classic, characters reinterpreted more effectively, and taste changes make it a worthwhile film. Best to be viewed in a dark cinema packed with people. Enjoy the suspense, horror, and emotional rush of the Omen.

It really was worth watching. One of the things one can enjoy on one’s holiday and birthday.

The Omen (2006)
Directed by John Moore. Written by David Seltzer. Cast: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Mia Farrow, Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Harvey Stephens et al

3 Responses to “Omen on 06/06/06”

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  1. Jun7


    Said this at 11:15am:

    Bottomline - it’s only a movie. It’s 90% close to the original flick, though I’m kinda leaning towards this remake purely for its suspense sequences. :-) Agree with you on the lame soundtrack.

  2. Jun8


    Said this at 12:41am:

    I think the timing of the movie’s release is pretty bad. The various Christian groups have seen the AntiChrist, read his Holy Scripture and Holy Film. Who else could it be? Dan Brown!

  3. Jun12


    Said this at 4:00pm:

    Gallivanter, Yup its only a movie. And the aim is to be entertained. Imagine, how more entertaining it would be if it had the original soundtrack.

    Blackshame, I disagree :)


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