The First Omen (2024)

by | Apr 21, 2024 | 2020s, Featured Films, Film Reviews, Horror | 0 comments

Demonic Deliverance: A Look at “The First Omen”


Release date: 4 April 2024 (Italy)
Genre: Horror
Director: Arkasha Stevenson
Cinematographer: Aaron Morton
Budget: $30 million USD
Box office: $35 million USD (as of 21 April 2024)


Is it a prequel? Is it a reimagining? Arkasha Stevenson’s “The First Omen” has sent shockwaves through the horror community. Diehard fans of the original 1976 film are both intrigued and apprehensive—can a prequel to a classic live up to the chilling legacy of Damien Thorn? Let’s delve into the unholy mess (in the best way possible) that is “The First Omen.”


Story Untold: A Descent into Darkness

“The First Omen” throws us back decades before the terrifying antics of young Damien. We meet Katherine (Nell Tiger Free), a wide-eyed novice sent to a Rome convent. A tragic miscarriage leaves her inexplicably chosen to bear a child for the American Ambassador (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his grieving wife (Elizabeth McGovern). But something is rotten in the state of the Vatican. Strange occurrences plague Katherine, leading her to uncover a conspiracy that sends shivers down your spine. This isn’t your typical Rosemary’s Baby situation; “The First Omen” injects a fresh dose of body horror and religious paranoia, all culminating in a shocking and unforgettable birth scene that had audiences squirming in their seats (and arguing in the lobby afterwards).


Behind the Veil: A Filmic Homage

Stevenson, clearly a fan of the original, bathes “The First Omen” in a thrillingly retro atmosphere. The camerawork evokes a 1970s aesthetic, all slow zooms and dutch angles, perfectly capturing the growing unease. The score by Krzysztof Penderecki is a masterclass in dread, with unsettling strings and choral arrangements that burrow under your skin. Filmed entirely on location in Rome, “The First Omen” boasts stunning visuals. The ancient basilicas and sprawling piazzas become characters themselves, adding a layer of grandeur (and claustrophobia) to the narrative.


A Cast Possessed: Delivering the Unholy

Newcomer Nell Tiger Free is a revelation as Katherine. Her transformation from innocent faith to steely resolve is captivating. Free’s performance is raw and vulnerable, making you truly fear for her character. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Elizabeth McGovern are equally solid, portraying the Ambassadorial couple with a believable mix of grief and desperation. It’s a testament to the film’s script that even minor characters leave an impression. A particular mention goes to Damien Mulvey as Father McBride, a priest haunted by his own faith, who delivers a chilling and nuanced performance.


Box Office Omen: Hail Mary or Holy Flop?

“The First Omen” has been a divisive film at the box office. Despite critical acclaim for its performances and atmosphere, the graphic content and religious themes have alienated some viewers. Opening weekend numbers were lower than expected, but strong word-of-mouth and a surprising lack of competition in the horror genre have seen “The First Omen” hold steady. Only time will tell if it will achieve the cult status of its predecessor.


Final Verdict: A Diabolically Good Time (for Some)

“The First Omen” isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a bold, disturbing reimagining of a classic tale. While the story might not tread entirely new ground, the film’s execution is flawless. Stevenson crafts a suspenseful and thought-provoking horror experience, elevated by exceptional performances and a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere. So, if you’re looking for a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll (and maybe even give you nightmares), then “The First Omen” is a must-watch. Just remember to keep the lights on.



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