RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES suggests Omen IV may have been one too many.
TITLE: Omen IV The Awakening
YEAR RELEASED: 1991
DIRECTOR: Jorge Montesi and Dominique Othenin-Girard
CAST: Faye Grant, Michael Woods, Michael Lerner, Asia Vieira
It’s some years since the death of Damien Thorn. A girl named Delia is adopted by two attorneys. All seems relatively normal for the first seven years. Then they adopt a Rottweiler dog, who appears to have saved Delia’s life. That’s when the seemingly innocent girl begins a rapid personality change…
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to enter cliché city, as the basic story of the original film is rehashed in a hackneyed manner which makes the 2006 Omen reboot look like the work of Hitchcock.
Yes, Satan’s spawn is on the loose again, this time in female form. Sadly, Delia is no chip off the old block in this cynical, cut-price attempt to wring more mileage out of the franchise. Originally made as a TV movie (and boy, does it show), 20th Century-Fox actually had the temerity to release this farrago theatrically in the UK.
When a film is credited as the work of two separate directors, it’s usually a bad omen, quite literally in this case. Original director Dominique Othenin-Girard left abruptly halfway through production, perhaps realising he was flogging a dead horse, and was replaced by Jorge Montesi, who appears to have picked up the flogging where his predecessor left off.
Imagine if the original Omen had been made by the people who make those lachrymose TV weepies that clog up discount stores. You know, the ones with titles like “Who Will Adopt My Motherless Kids”, or “I Was Given To The Wrong Parents”. That’s pretty much the standard here, with a fairly distinguished cast struggling with the overwrought treatment, which is more daytime drama than late night horror.
In a vain attempt to spice things up, a dose of new-age mysticism is added to the mix. Where photos of soon-to-be victims once showed suspicious dark lines pointing towards the impending wound, here they display a negative aura, one which looks like it’s actually been caused by spilling a hot drink on the picture.
The set pieces, a trademark of the series, simply fail to hit the spot. Even a nod to the original’s famous beheading scene falls woefully flat, whilst another hapless feller’s encounter with a wrecking ball is more reminiscent of a Road Runner cartoon than the work of Beelzebub.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget the satanic carol singers who crop up at one point, looking like rejects from the worst 80s music video, ever.
Perhaps most jarring of all, the film also boasts one of the most annoying moppets ever to grace the screen, and let’s face it – “annoying brats in horror flicks” is a pretty big field to excel in, but Delia heads straight to the top of her class.
Omen IV is the cinematic equivalent of buying a supermarket’s own-brand value corn flakes. The ingredients on the box might look the same as the original, but once you sample what’s inside, you can’t help but feel cheated, regardless of how little you spent.
Still, at least it’s good for plenty of laughs. Approach Omen IV as the disaster it undoubtedly is, and I’ll wager you’ll be chuckling all the way to the ridiculous denouement.
TRIVIA POINT: The Omen series continued in novel form with Omen IV: Armageddon 2000 (1983) and Omen V: The Abomination (1985), both by Gordon McGill. This film is not based on either of those books.
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