16 April 2010

Ally's Review: Damien: Omen II

The Omen Trilogy is a little bit underrated in my opinion. People generally don’t have too much good to say about the two sequels. It’s fair enough that people would be very sceptical of any horror sequel: there is so much cinematic evidence to support the notion that it will likely be awful. However, I’m actually quite a big fan of both Omen sequels (I don’t include Omen 4 because I haven’t seen it... the story ends with the third film for me). So I thought a positive review for Omen 2 was necessary. I will try to tiptoe through the spoiler minefield in this review, but if you haven’t seen the first Omen (and have plans to) then perhaps you should stop reading!

The second film finds us following a teenage Damien, as he starts to understand that he is a bit different from his peers. He has landed on his feet after the final scenes of the first movie, having been adopted by his Uncle: a rich and powerful businessman. Unlike most sequels to a successful film, Omen 2 doesn’t feel like it was made purely to generate some extra cash for the studio. It feels like the continuation of the story, despite that not being the original intention at the end of the first film. The story fits well with what came before and after it. There are not many horror sequels that you can say anything positive about, and even fewer that actually continue a wider story. So in that sense the Omen 2 is a rare breed.

The story is genuinely creepy, with some very sinister moments and the occasional jump. The acting and direction are both solid, without being spectacular. On the negative side, some of the set pieces are pretty naff, which may make the viewer chuckle unintentionally. It makes it harder to take the story seriously when you see some of the more elaborate death scenes. It also looks pretty dated: it suffers from that weird 1970s phenomena of every item of clothing and decoration being coloured a shade of brown. By comparison, I don’t think the first Omen has dated as badly. However, these are quite minor issues and it doesn’t take long to get sucked back into the story: which zips along at a very good pace. There are some genuinely shocking and thrilling moments, and it leaves you feeling very enthusiastic about watching the third film. Considering it was only made due to the success of Richard Donner’s original, that is an achievement to be admired.

Is it a classic of the genre? Absolutely not. But it’s a very solid film and fans of the first Omen film should definitely give the other two a shot. Unlike sequels of The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw or Halloween, the sequels are strong additions and certainly worth watching.

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