Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The First Omen breathes new in life into a spooky franchise

The renowned horror franchise Omen has recently received a prequel titled “The First Omen” from 20th Century Studios. The film is directed by Arkasha Stevenson, who co-wrote the script with Tim Smith and Keith Thomas, and is based on a story by Ben Jacoby. In the sixth installment of the franchise, the plot revolves around Margaret Daino, portrayed by Nell Tiger Free, an American woman sent to work at an orphanage in Rome, where she discovers a sinister plot to bring forth the birth of the Antichrist. Margaret develops close relationships with Luz Valez, played by Maria Caballero, and young orphan Carlita Scianna, played by Nicole Scarce. However, when Father Brennan, portrayed by Ralph Ineson, warns Margaret of a conspiracy within the church, she begins to experience unsettling events, testing her faith and sanity.

Initially, there were concerns that the movie would follow the typical prequel formula of predictable plotlines with a young cast. However, the filmmakers have managed to avoid these clichés. Nell Tiger Free delivers an outstanding performance as the lead character, supported by skilled actors, including Sonia Braga, Ralph Ineson, and Bill Nighty. Director Arkasha Stevenson creates a hauntingly precise atmosphere, building tension and suspense from the opening scene. The eerie feeling persists as the audience enters a world where evil lurks beneath the surface.

In 2006, a remake of the original movie was released, directed by John Moore and starring Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles. While the remake received mixed reviews, it introduced a new generation of viewers to the story of Damien, the Antichrist child who is destined to bring about the end of the world. Given the success of the franchise and the enduring popularity of the original movie, it seems only natural that a prequel would be the next step. A prequel would allow filmmakers to explore the origins of Damien and the events that led up to his birth. It could also provide more context for the mythology of the “Omen” universe and deepen our understanding of the characters and their motivations.

Before the film’s release, there was speculation that the studio was hiding something, as there were no buzz screenings. However, the creative team has demonstrated a deep understanding of the film’s franchise and the horror genre, resulting in a well-crafted final product. While the prequel may not reach the heights of the original “Omen” film, it expands the franchise’s mythology and provides a compelling backstory for one of horror’s most iconic villains. Fans of the series will find much to enjoy in this dark and haunting exploration of evil’s roots.

Final Grade: B

“The First Omen” is in theaters now.

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