A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the film concerns the antichrist and the "end of days," and uses brief images of recent disasters (9/11, Katrina) to suggest the time is near. The film includes extreme violence and bloody images of deaths engineered by Satan/evil forces; the most gruesome images include characters speared and beheaded and a knockdown fight between a father and the nanny. The film also includes a mother saying she wants to abort her second child, seeing a psychiatrist, being terrorized and injured by her son (a scary fall from a balcony), and a father's decision to kill his own young son. The film also contains some strong language, including two uses of the f-word.
What's the story?
John Moore's remake of the 1976 original focuses on the vulnerable mother Katherine (Julia Stiles). When she loses her own baby during childbirth at a Roman hospital, an odious priest and her U.S. ambassador husband Robert (Liev Schreiber) arrange to hide this awful tragedy from her and give her the substitute child. The baby is Damien (Shamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), the son of the devil. While Kate is left pretty much alone, Robert heads to the embassy, where he's accosted by gaunt Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite). Unnerved but unmoved, Robert does eventually believe the "evidence" presented to him by dogged journalist Keith Jennings (David Thewlis). Together, they travel the globe in search of "answers," namely, how to dispose of this monstrous child.
Is it any good?
Loud and ludicrous, THE OMEN (2006) makes its distinctions between good and evil clear upfront. The sweet, suffering mother is sadly doomed, while the devil who connives to have her raise his son is dark and crafty. This showdown is occasioned by the arrival of the antichrist, here in the form of a cute-seeming infant, foretold by "signs" that include the 9/11 attacks and Katrina (these glimpsed in brief news clips).
As Damian finds ways to torment Kate (mostly by glaring at her or hiding in the park), she becomes the audience's point of identification. That said, she's saddled with a wardrobe that alternates between grim and stuffy (official-wife suits or blood-red garments) and looks lost in the stark, too-spacious interiors in the couple's new abode in London. Condemned to the usual girl-in-a-horror-movie antics, Kate is beset on all sides, not least by a scary nanny (Mia Farrow) who comes with her own scary dog. The men's actions, however, remain less compelling than the mother's melodrama. Poor Kate: She distrusts her child and shouldn't trust her husband. She doesn't have a chance.
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