A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Damien is a horror series that purportedly takes place 25 years after the events of the 1976 movie The Omen. A main character is said to be the Antichrist; biblical imagery such as crosses, Bibles, churches, candles, and crucifixes mix with standard horror-movie visions: crows, scary music, growling dogs, blood splashed on a cross. Deaths occur on-screen: A screaming woman is sucked into a black pit by an unknown force, a priest is set upon by huge dogs and his throat torn out with grisly noises, spurting blood, and gore. Expect scary imagery relating to the apocalypse, plus some kissing and very mild references to sex.
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What's the story?
Twenty-five years ago, DAMIEN (Bradley James) had one of the most terrifying childhoods you can imagine. As recounted in the 1976 movie The Omen, the young boy swiftly lost his governess, his mother, then his father and was left to grow up in a series of boarding schools. Now the boy is a man, a war photographer who has a life-changing experience while on assignment in Syria that leads him to question everything. Who is this terrifying old woman who seems to have been watching him all his life? Why do the people around him keep dying? Why do priests thrust rosary beads into his hands and urge him to accept Christ? And what are these terrifying visions he has of the past -- and of a terrible future he fears he may bring about.
Is it any good?
If only this drama didn't make the unfortunate stylistic choice to show clips from the original movie -- it only points out how great that movie was and how bland this one is. Besides repeatedly displaying one of the logical lapses Damien is rife with -- if that movie took place in the 1970s, why is Damien 30? -- it also contrasts the acting of Gregory Peck and Lee Remick to James', whose acting doesn't quite stack up. Things should move along more crisply in an end-of-the-world-drama, or there had better be terrific sympathetic characters if the plot isn't going to snap. But no.
The only one who looks like she's having fun is Barbara Hershey, who appears to be playing some sort of devil's henchman/Mrs. Robinson character as she murmurs to Damien about his evil possibilities. Otherwise, the drama is fairly inert, and so cheap! A statue breaks apart and falls to the ground in the most Styrofoam-y of ways; a near-massacre in Syria clearly takes place on a back lot. For Bible-horror completists and Hershey or James fans only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why this 40-year-old movie is being updated now. Why does the TV landscape lend itself to an adaptation of this type? Which current or recent shows also update vintage horror properties?
Since the first movie took place in 1976 and Damien was supposed to be 5 then, he should be around 45 now. Does he look 45? Is the actor who plays him 45? Why would producers have made the choice to cast Damien as younger than he "should" be?
Dramas and comedies about the devil are common. How many can you name? Why is this such an intriguing subject for writers to cover?
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