Peck's Little Nicky
Whilst in Rome Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) receives the news that his newly born son died just minutes old. Rather than tell his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) Robert agrees to switch his dead son with a similar looking orphan. All is well for the first few years as Robert becomes an ambassador in Great Britain till they throw a birthday party for their young son Damien (Harvey Stephens) and during the party Damien's nanny kills herself, jumping from a window with a noose tied around her neck. These strange occurrences become more frequent and start to take their toll on Katherine whilst Robert has to deal with the seemingly deranged Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) who suggests their son is the spawn of Satan. Meanwhile photographer Jennings (David Warner) who has been following the Thorn's ever since the nanny incident becomes aware that his photo's show how the people in them will die with one of him also showing him how he will die.
Atmosphere, it is one of those things which can make or break a movie to the point that an old movie which might have worked one way for audiences on its release can still be effective but in a different way because it has atmosphere. It is the atmosphere which makes "The Omen" for me, that sense of what will happen next whilst also dealing with the mystery of what is going on, as in is Damien the spawn of Satan or is the new nanny who shows up, Mrs. Baylock, a controlling evil spirit. Basically "The Omen" manages to spike the audience's curiosity.
But what "The Omen" does is also continually build up the mystery so when Father Brennan befalls a horrific death we then get another clue, another mystery involving a birth mark on his body. Now for those brought up going to church aspects of the movie will reveal themselves far more easily than for those who's knowledge of the bible is limited. But it still builds up this wonderful sense of mystery, an ominous air as it makes you wonder what moment of horror will happen next. Although saying that as horrors go "The Omen" doesn't really scare you but puts you on edge over what may happen next.
As for the acting well Peck, Remick and Warner all deliver solid performances, bringing character to the movie but not entirely shaking off their own persona's to do so. But then there is Billie Whitelaw who brings that bit extra to the movie and makes Mrs. Baylock a sinister character. On the subject of which there is Harvey Stephens as Damien and from the famous tricycle scene to the violent fit he has as they Thorn's drive up to a church he certainly makes for an unsettling child.
What this all boils down to is that "The Omen" is still an entertaining movie but for me it is one which works more because it has an ominous atmosphere which makes you constantly wonder what moment of evil will happen next rather than for what actually does happen.