MAY 9, 2009
In theory, doing an Omen movie with a little GIRL Antichrist isn’t the worst idea of all time. So despite its TV movie roots, I figured Omen IV: The Awakening would be all right. And it IS “all right”, because it’s more or less a remake of the terrific original, so by some strange sort of default, it works. Little Antichrist children just plain WORK.
I just wish screenwriter Brian Taggert (who also wrote the "filled with interesting ideas that go nowhere" Poltergeist III) had taken the time to do anything original throughout the film. With only like 10 minutes to go, he finally introduces a good idea - the woman in the Lee Remick role has a newborn son, that Delia may want to harm, or may be yet another Antichrist. It’s suspenseful, and slightly different from the other films. Why wasn’t this the main thrust of the movie? Instead, we get a bunch of stuff we’ve already seen - Delia (the Damien counterpart) does some evil shit at school, looks at someone funny and then they commit suicide or get killed by some Rube Goldberg-y sequence of events (not nearly as elaborate as they were in the other sequels, nor are they gory), etc. And every 10 minutes or so, a choir sings “DOMINUS!” and some other Latin shit I can’t spell/pronounce.
There are some pretty nice moments though. I loved the little cuts after deaths to random objects. Since they can’t show gore, they have to use visual metaphor. So after a guy gets decapitated, we see a ball with a clown face rolling around. After a private investigator gets smashed by a wrecking ball (the movie’s most confusing/awesome scene), an egg is dropped on the floor. I love shit like that.
The PI is played by Michael Lerner, always a welcome presence in a movie. He gets introduced halfway through and more or less takes over the movie for the next 20 minutes or so (he is hired by the mother, who is our actual main character but disappears throughout this entire sequence). There are two things I love about these scenes. One, he gets information from what has to be the nicest and most generous pimp in movie history. The guy helpfully offers all the information that Lerner requires, and then when Lerner tries to pay him for his trouble, the guy refuses! Lerner persists and he takes it, but holy shit. I half expected the guy to become his partner.
The other thing I liked is that we once again have a PI in a movie that is overwhelmingly dedicated to helping these people. I mean, yeah there’s money to be made, but he puts more effort into finding out what’s going on than the mother who hired him does. At one point he needs to get some adoption info, and in order to get the nuns out of the room, he hires two clowns to entertain the children, which sends the nuns in a tizzy as they have a strict “Only the priests can molest the children” policy. Seriously, if I ever need someone to carry out a shady investigation on my behalf, I hope I get someone even half as dedicated as this guy.
Also, they read my “favorite” bible passage at one point. I say favorite in quotes because, like the bible in general, it’s hardly what I call leisure reading. But back when I had to go to church every Sunday (actually, my mom, bless her, favored Saturday afternoon, which was a shorter mass), I’d always look forward to around August when this particular reading came up (it was always August. Church runs on schedule, I guess). I can’t recall the exact scripture, but it’s about a dragon with ten heads and seven diadems or something of that nature. Since most church readings concerned Jesus rambling to some guys, or maybe a letter from Paul to the Corinthians (did they ever write back?), this was pretty exciting. I think church would be a lot more appealing to today’s youth if there were more readings about dragons.
One part of the movie baffled me though. Delia is running toward the road, and of course there’s a movie truck barreling along, driven by a movie truck driver who has time to blare his horn six times but not hit the brakes. A guy with a dog is also nearby, and the dog suddenly bolts toward the road and knocks Delia out of the truck’s way. In the next scene, the family has adopted the dog. Did the dog’s original owner really care so little about his dog that he would just hand it over to a stranger? What a fucking asshole. You’d have to kill me to take my dog (or my cats). And maybe they did, but if so it wasn’t shown, so it’s a missed opportunity for director Dominique Othenin-Girard, who also helmed Halloween 5, killing my belief that he disappeared off the face of the earth after helming that underrated entry (this came along two years later – THEN he disappeared off the face of the earth).
It’s the weakest of the series for sure, but I dunno, there’s still something compelling about the whole thing. One cool thing about the originals is that it shows Damien at three different stages in his life, leaving plenty of unexplored "in between" areas to do future movies, so I hope this series isn’t totally dead thanks to the remake (which I also didn’t mind, though the Damien portrayal and 9/11 footage were horrible decisions).
What say you?