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the_OmenIn this era of product placement one very obvious bit of marketing was overlooked in The Omen, the remake of the spooky 1976 film starring Gregory Peck. It seems to me that Trojan condoms should have sponsored this movie because after seeing it if the prospect of giving birth to the anti-Christ isn’t an incentive for birth control I don’t know what is.

In the reworking Liev Schreiber plays Robert Thorn, aide to the American ambassador to Italy. His wife, Kate (Julia Stiles) is pregnant but there are complications. At the hospital he is told by a mysterious priest that their baby has been born dead, but another child, born at virtually the same time, whose mother died in childbirth is available. The priest convinces the grieving father not to tell his wife of the switch and the couple raise the child, named Damien, as their own. Five years later when Thorn is made ambassador to Great Britain strange things start to happen in their new mansion. The rest of the movie can be summed up thusly: Big creepy house, little creepy kid.

As the leads Schreiber brings a square-jawed determination to his role, while Stiles copes as best as one can when raising the child of the Devil. In a smallish supporting role Mia Farrow returns to the devil-child genre almost 40 years after Rosemary’s Baby made her a star, as Mrs. Blaylock, a demonic wet-nurse with the movie’s only funny lines.

With the multitude of sequels and remakes hitting the theatres this summer everything old is new again, but that saying is especially true in the case of The Omen, which is more than a remake, it’s a cover version of the old film. Line for line and shot for the shot this new version of the film simply replaces the original cast with current actors, updates the technology—e-mail replaces snail mail—and dismisses some of the outdated 70s mores of the first one to recycle the story for a new generation. The movie is hair-raising enough and the mysterious murders are a little more graphic and disturbing than the original, but the only reason I can see for remounting this movie is the once-in-a-century chance to open it on the demonic date June 6, 2006—6/6/06.

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