This silly and bloody, but at times very effective, horror film takes The Exorcist one step further by concentrating, not on possession by the Devil, but on the Antichrist himself.
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Ambassador Gregory Peck finds that he's adopted the Antichrist (and he's a cute little feller too), in the slickest of the many demonic thrillers that followed in the wake of The Exorcist. Richard Donner directs more for speed than mood, but there are a few good shocks.
The Omen is a dumb and largely dull movie. No true connoisseur of kitsch will confuse the work of writer David Seltzer and director Richard Donner with the masterpiece of psychic manipulation contrived by William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin in The Exorcist, not to mention what the diabolical Roman Polanski made out of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby. [12 July 1976, p.69]
The performance of Harvey Stephens as the young Damien has invested the film with the chill of genuine credibility.
A bald-faced lamprey hitching its razor-tipped maw on the chassis of The Exorcist, The Omen’s Sunday-school parable of gothic Cathsploitation comes twice as thick and thrice as pious.
The Omen takes all of this terribly seriously, as befits the genre that gave us Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. What Jesus was to the 1950s movie epic, the devil is to the 1970s, and so all of this material is approached with the greatest solemnity, not only in the performances but also in the photography, the music and the very looks on people's faces.