|Do us all a favor and go back to sleep!|
(Like The Final Conflict, this is a film where I had a surprising amount of difficulty finding really good and relevant images. There were some characters I only found mediocre images of, some none at all, and I found no images of the actual deaths whatsoever, only of the build-ups and aftermaths. So, I apologize in advance for this review not being as well as illustrated as I thought it would be. It must be the Omen curse!)
Gene and Karen York, a politically-connected, Virginia couple, adopt a baby girl from an orphanage operated by a sisterhood of nuns and name her Delia. Right from the beginning, strange things begin to happen, like the head nun dying of a heart attack after the adoption, one of the nuns leaving the orphanage shortly afterward, and a priest who attempts to baptize the baby suddenly dying of a heart attack. Some time afterward, after a congressman is severely slandered when his perverse private life is exposed, Gene runs for his position and manages to get it. Seven years later, eight-year old Delia is beginning to develop a very cruel, violent, and manipulative personality towards everyone but her parents and after a couple of altercations with a boy at her school who constantly picks on her, his father is killed in a sudden and horrific freak accident. When she's injured after a horse she tries to ride becomes frightened and bucks her off, it's revealed that she's already menstruating even though she's only eight. The Yorks hire Jo, a practitioner of New Age spirituality, as a nanny for Delia but she immediately senses that there's something strange about her when all of her healing crystals turn black around her. When her friend, Noah, an aura reader, senses a lot of negative energy coming from her, Jo takes Delia to a psychic fair, where her presence alarms the psychics and when an aura photograph of her is taken, the picture reveals dark, sepia tone colors around her. A mysterious fire destroys the fair and kills some of the psychics but, despite warnings from Noah to leave, Jo stays behind in order to try to help Delia deal with her negative energy, only to be shoved through the window by Delia's dog, Ryder. Karen discovers that she's become pregnant and, as her fear towards Delia's menacing behavior deepens, she turns to a local preacher in trying to make sense of what Jo discovered about Delia, which is where she learns of the Antichrist. She eventually hires private detective Earl Knight to track down Delia's biological parents as well as Sister Yvonne, the nun who left the orphanage after Delia's adoption. What Knight uncovers, before he's killed in another freak accident, ties Delia to Damien Thorn, who Karen learns was not only the Antichrist but also Delia's father. Even more horrific, Karen's recently born son, Alexander, whose embryo Delia was carrying inside her body before it was implanted into Karen, is also Damien's seed and destined to become the new Antichrist. Now, Karen must kill her own baby boy in order to prevent the prophecy of the Book of Revelations from coming to pass.
Before we go further into this, let's address the biggest sticking point as to why this movie shouldn't even exist: The Final Conflict ended with the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus came back, Damien died, and the entire world was cleansed of all the evil that he'd caused as the Messiah began his eternal, peaceful reign. So, how could this story possibly be taking place? Why are we suddenly thrown back into a world where everything's going downhill and the red carpet for the Antichrist is basically being rolled out, as the character of Father Mattson puts it? Plus, said character talks about how he feels that the Antichrist will come and cause great suffering in the world and the whole time, I'm sitting there, thinking to myself, "He already did and was defeated!" They do, at least, acknowledge Damien's death but seem to retcon the Second Coming, instead saying that his followers have been waiting for the opportunity to continue his legacy, which they now have with his children. So, when you also take Mattson's warning into account, does it all mean that, in this alternate reality (which is what I feel it is), Damien was merely a precursor and father to the real Antichrist, who is actually baby Alexander? Wow, way to rob the previous films of their impact, especially the original, as if I already didn't have enough reasons to hate this movie. But, of course, the real reason why this film exists, despite what came before, is because the people behind the Fox Television Network saw The Omen as one of many properties that the studio had that they could make part of a series of low budget, movies of the week that they were doing at that time and didn't care what they had to do in order to make it work.
|Gene calling Jake out... with a dopey look on his face.|
This is hardly the best image of Hastings but it was the only
one I could find that wasn't of his death scene.
The film shamelessly borrows some of the themes that Jerry Goldsmith composed for both The Omen and The Final Conflict and when you hear the original music, composed by Jonathan Sheffer, you understand why because it seems like either that guy knew this was a bad film and didn't even try or is a talentless hack. The latter actually could be true because he mainly works as a conductor and hasn't worked on many projects as an actual composer. Most of the stuff he has composed music for consists of more television work, short films, and documentaries, with his theatrical films being little known flicks like On Valentine's Day, In a Shallow Grave (with Michael Biehn), Bloodhounds of Broadway (which has an acting role by Madonna), Pure Luck (with Martin Short and Danny Glover), and, the title that really caught my attention, a 1988 movie called Zits. Judging from the plot synopsis, it's not really a movie about pimples but I'm just like, "They got a guy who scored a movie called Zits to do an Omen movie?" It's not fair to judge a person's work based on the name of the movie they did music for, I know, but I wouldn't be giving him so much crap if his score for Omen IV didn't suck so bad. So, what's so bad about it, you might ask? It's goofy as hell and sounds like something you'd expect to hear in a Looney Tunes cartoon, that's what! His music involving the family moments between the Yorks and baby Delia is okay but it's like he doesn't know how to score scenes that are supposed to be ominous, suspenseful, or scary. You hear music during the opening titles that sounds far too whimsical for a movie about the devil's child, the scene where Delia tricks that kid into climbing that ladder is scored like an old Disney cartoon, and during the scene at the fair, you hear music that sounds like what Danny Elfman would do if he were on speed and had all of his talent sucked out. Even worse, when you mix in Goldsmith's masterful and genuinely menacing music, it sounds as if there are two completely different movies here battling for dominance and the sucky one is winning. For instance, the ending scene at the funeral has Goldsmith's original Ave Satani, which leads into the ending credits, and it does paint a grim picture of an uncertain future as Delia and the newborn Antichrist head off with their unsuspecting father... and then it's completely ruined once the theme ends because it goes back into Sheffer's silly music. Fortunately, they end with his family theme, which works a little better as it reminds you of the happiness Karen had with her adopted daughter and how it's all been shattered in the most tragic way possible, but the damage is already done by that point. It's truly amazing what a train-wreck this score is and it's one of the major things that kills the movie for me since, personally, music can often make or break it.