Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Arkasha Stevenson.

Starring Nell Tiger Free, Ralph Ineson, Nicole Sorace.

Horror, US, 119 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in cinemas in the UK 5th April by 20th Century Studios.


Eighteen years after a totally unnecessary and unmemorable remake, which seemed purely a marketing decision instead of a creative one to take advantage of its 6/6/06 release date, hopes could hardly be described as high when plans for a prequel to THE OMEN were announced. With a completely underwhelming EXORCIST sequel still fresh in our memories, it is hard not to feel that this could be yet another cynical ploy by a major studio capitalising on a profitable IP. What a pleasure then to find that THE FIRST OMEN is much better than expected, showing what can be done with a vintage franchise with the right talent paying their respects while simultaneously taking risks that, for the most part, pay off in a fulfilling and sinister fashion.


Set five years before the original film, we return to Rome, where we follow Margaret, a young American novitiate getting ready to take her vows. Training in an orphanage, Margaret finds herself drawn to Carlita, a withdrawn and disturbed teenager whose sketches seem to suggest disturbing visions, an affliction that Margaret herself confesses to suffering from herself when she was a child. Soon Margaret is approached by the familiar figure of Father Brennan, who tells Margaret that the young girl could be the centre of a terrible conspiracy. Troubling events and portents soon engulf Margaret as she uncovers the dark secrets that will lead onto the world threatening birth of everyone’s favourite Antichrist, Damien Thorn, whom we are all familiar with from the original trilogy.


Kudos should be paid to Twentieth Century Studios for handing the reins here to Arkasha Stevenson, making her feature directing debut. Viewers of the underrated series’ BRAND-NEW CHERRY FLAVOUR and CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK may already be familiar with Stevenson’s nightmarish sense of style, which is in evidence right from the first scene here. Although there are unavoidable nods to the preceding films that feel a tad forced and shoved in haphazardly, for the most part this is a much darker than expected film that stretches the boundaries of its 15 certificate to breaking point. Also making the jump from a streaming horror series is lead actress Nell Tiger Free from SERVANT. Her portrayal of Margaret impressively runs the range from eager to please student all the way to a psychotic meltdown in a scene that blatantly pays homage to Isabel Adjani’s immortal freak out session in POSSESSION.


Long-time fans and purists may take issue with one piece of Damien’s mythos that gets retconned here but on the other hand they may find themselves more than satisfied with other aspects such as Ralph Ineson’s faithful performance of Father Brennan and the nods paid to the score of the original film. While also trading in themes and story beats that can also be found in the recently released IMMACULATE, this is a highly satisfying revisit to an old favourite. If Arkasha gets to continue the story in the direction suggested by this films end that would be an exciting proposition, but if not, it could be just as exciting, if not more, to see how she gets to display her considerable talent with something more original.


Iain MacLeod.



This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.


FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.

© 2000 - 2024

Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans