“Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you.”
Some religious horror films don’t care much for ambiguity. Some would rather scare people into the pews of a church than pose a serious question against theism. Richard Donner’s The Omen is one such film.
It’s as straightforward as they come. God is real. The Devil is real. The Devil’s son is also real and guess what? He’s your kid! Cue Jerry Goldsmith’s devilishly malevolent score and all of a sudden the whole audience is reciting their Hail Marys. This is why the film was praised by many religious organizations upon its release.
The film feeds religious hysteria much like a tyrannical priest; it wags its finger and yells about hell fire. Repent! Repent or you’ll be decapitated by a loose sheet of glass sliding off a truck, as David Warner learned in one of the film’s most effective scare scenes. This pro-religious stance doesn’t make it a bad horror film by any stretch. In fact, it’s a gloriously operatic descent into hell, hosted by a surprisingly photogenic anti-christ. But, does the film offer anything beyond its divine thrills and chills? No, not really. Perhaps it never aimed to.