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#125 - The Omen
Richard Donner, 1976

An American diplomat and expecting father secretly adopts an orphan baby when his own child dies during birth, which causes problems when he slowly learns that his adopted son is not exactly human.

You've got to hand it to horror films that specialise in demonic activity. The Omen does generate a certain degree of dread throughout the whole picture thanks to its Satanic premise, but it's debatable as to how well it pulls the whole thing off. Having Oscar-winning legend Gregory Peck as the protagonist is an interesting choice that does lend the material a certain gravitas, but even he is stretched thin over the course of this film. The slow and cryptic revelation of Damien's nature is perhaps a little too slow and cryptic, especially considering how sharp and sudden the scenes of actual violence are in comparison. Some of them border on the absurd, such as one character standing still and screaming in horror as a pike falls off a roof and impales him or another getting his head sheared off by a plate of glass. It's definitely more good than bad, but a film like this should thrive on a constant sense of unease and this film doesn't quite provide that not because of any attempts at lightening the mood but because it drags out things like exposition and makes the tension inconsistent. Definitely worth watching, but I guess I expected a bit more (and I'll be damned if that ending doesn't feel like old hat even for 1976).