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The Omen Collection Main

The Omen Collection: The Omen (2006) Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

The Omen Collection Large

Directed by John Moore
Written by David Seltzer
2006, 110 minutes, Rated R

Starring:
Liev Schreiber as Robert Thorn
Julia Stiles as Katherine Thorn
Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock
David Thewlis as Keith Jennings
Pete Postlethwaite as Father Brennan

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Review:

In the early 2000s, Hollywood was all about remaking classic genre titles with name recognition. The Omen (2006) (aka The Omen 666) is a film that had a release date before anything else; the sixth of June, 2006 (06-06-06). In addition to the nifty calendar alignment, this year marked the thirtieth anniversary of the classic picture starring Gregory Peck. Rather than churning out another sequel to a dormant franchise, they decided to go back to the source and put a contemporary spin on the material. Original screenwriter David Seltzer was brought in to revamp his script and tailor it to a younger audience. The new movie follows the blueprint to the letter and adds a few modern flourishes for good measure.

This time around the Thorns are an attractive couple in their late twenties rather than an older couple desperate to have a child before it’s too late. Liev Schreiber (The Last Days on Mars) takes over the Peck role and is fine in the film but cannot escape the shadow cast by the legend. Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You) also appears in over her head as wife Kathy, but she and Schreiber are good actors who work well together and make for a loving couple. Where the remake shines is in its supporting cast, starting with none other than the great Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby) as the sinister Mrs. Baylock. She is the best part of the picture and makes the whole experiment seem worthy. David Thewlis (Naked) co-stars as photographer Keith Jennings, Thorn’s partner in solving the mystery of Damien’s birth. Rounding out the key cast is the late, great Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane) who brings an intensity to the part of the doomed Father Brennan.

Director John Moore (A Good Day to Die Hard) accepts the challenge of putting his own stamp on the picture. Unfortunately, he lacks vision and falls into the stylistic trappings that were popular at the time, including flashy jump scares and loud noises to keep the audience engaged. He has a decent eye and displays some creative camera work, but overshoots the murder set pieces, telegraphing the payoff and lessening the impact. The Omen (2006) is entertaining while it plays, but doesn’t leave a lasting impression. This is an inferior copy of the original film that adds too little to stand on its own and falls flat. Skip it.

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Video and Audio:

The Omen (1976) receives a stunning new 4K restoration of the original camera negative, approved by director Richard Donner, boasting gorgeous colors and rich black levels. Presented in the 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, the picture offers more detail than in previous releases.

Omen II and Omen III also appear in their native 2.35:1 aspect ratio and stem from the same solid transfers used for the 2008 Blu-ray collection.

Omen IV makes its HD debut with a colorful 2K scan and looks terrific. The film debuted on American television in full frame 1.33:1, but appears here in the expanded 1.85:1 aspect ratio used for its theatrical release overseas.

The Omen (2006) features the same respectable transfer used for its original Blu-ray release in 2006. Detail is sharp and black levels are rich, but colors are frequently muted with the exception of red, which is quite striking. The film appears in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

The original mono mixes for The Omen (1976) and Omen II make their long-awaited debut in this collection along with the 2-channel stereo mix for Omen III – all of which appear in DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks, joined by the repurposed DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mixes for each film. Omen IV receives a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix and The Omen (2006) carries its expanded DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track. The audio on all five films is solid with clean, crisp dialogue and robust music cues.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Disc 1: The Omen (1976)

There are four audio commentaries for this picture, three of which are holdovers from the earlier release, with a new one from special project consultant Scott Michael Bosco. This is not your typical discussion, as he opens with a bit of personal backstory before diving into thoughts on the new transfer and the concept of evil in the film. Bosco provides notes on the cast and praises the score and camerawork. Biblical themes are also covered as are story influences and some film recommendations.

The second commentary features director Richard Donner with editor Stuart Baird and the two are happy to share their memories from this project. They discuss editing techniques and developing rhythms for some memorable scenes. There are many fun stories shared, but unfortunately there are also a lot of gaps of silence as they quietly watch the picture.

Filmmaker Brian Helgeland (writer of L.A. Confidential) joins Donner on the next track for the most rewarding conversation. Helgeland is a fan and a friend and engages Donner in thoughtful discussion with thoughtful memories and amusing anecdotes. The two praise the cast, the score, the cinematography and the strength of the script. Donner details the mechanics behind the scene where Kathy falls from the balcony and he goes on to reveal the film’s Star Wars connection.

The final commentary provides film historians Lem Dobbs, Nick Redman and Jeff Bond the opportunity to share their knowledge of the production. There is a lot of discussion of Jerry Goldsmith’s score plus talk of Gregory Peck and the themes of the picture.

Screenwriter David Seltzer sits down for the segment The Devil’s Word (2019, 23 minutes) and comes across as a genuinely humble guy. He shares his memories of writing the script and the importance of having an innocent villain. He goes on to discuss meeting Donner and Peck, the casting process and his reaction to the film. Other topics include quickly writing the novelization and his thoughts on the sequel and audience reaction and the film’s legacy.

In It’s All for You (2019, 13 minutes), actress Holly Palance remembers this as her first movie and her role as the unfortunate nanny. She goes on to praise Peck, Remick and Warner and was impressed by the child actor playing Damien. Palance continues with a story about shooting her rooftop scene and her reaction to the quality of the finished film.

Composer Christopher Young (Drag Me to Hell) provides an appreciation of Jerry Goldsmith’s legendary score in The Devil’s Music (2019, 19 minutes). He reveals how Goldsmith’s style influenced his early compositions and what a thrill it was to meet the maestro. He discusses the evolution of the score across the three films making up the original trilogy. Samples of the music are featured in clips from the film that appear throughout this interview.

Goldsmith’s remastered score appears on an isolated track for your listening pleasure.

Richard Donner on The Omen (2004, 15 minutes) is an archival featurette in which he reveals that he looked at the story without supernatural elements as a tale of a family going crazy. He heaps praise on the script, his cast and cinematographer and reveals the pressure felt directing the film. He talks about the marketing campaign and the public response and the legacy.

The documentary The Omen Revelations (2006, 24 minutes) features interviews with Donner, Seltzer and Baird as well as Goldsmith, f/x supervisor John Richardson and members of the church. There are memories of the shoot – particularly filming at the zoo and staging the decapitation scene and other trick shots.

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Curse of Coincidence (2000, 6 minutes) finds crew members remembering strange occurrences during production – Donner is quick to call bullshit.

In 666: The Omen Revealed (2000, 46 minutes), Donner, Seltzer, Baird, Goldsmith, producer Harvey Bernhard and executive producer Mace Neufeld reflect on the making of the picture and its legacy.

David Seltzer sits down for the segment Screenwriter’s Notebook (2006, 15 minutes) and talks about how the story came together and about pulling material from the Bible. He remembers working with Donner and quickly writing the novelization and marvels at the public response.

Introduction with Director Richard Donner (2006, 2 minutes) is a self-explanatory short video.

A deleted scene (1 minute) with director commentary features an extended moment from late in the film when Thorn is trying to drag Damien to the church.

Wes Craven on The Omen (2006, 20 minutes) is a video appreciation in which Craven remarks on the dignity of the picture and shares his thoughts on the characters and themes. He talks about memorable scenes and taboos in film and has love for the cast and crew.

Jerry Goldsmith Discusses The Omen Score (2000, 18 minutes) finds the composer discussing his writing process and offering his thoughts on various themes. Musical selections play over clips from the film throughout the segment.

Filmmaker Larry Cohen (Q: The Winged Serpent) shares his thoughts on the film in an audio commentary over the movie preview in Trailers from Hell.

The theatrical trailer is included with three TV spots and eight radio ads.

There are three still galleries: Behind the Scenes (6 minutes), Movie Stills, Posters and Lobby Cards (6 minutes) and Publicity Gallery (2 minutes).

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Disc 2: Damien: Omen II

There are two audio commentaries on this disc, the first with special project consultant Scott Michael Bosco, who relays a little Biblical history in this discussion, balanced with a wide variety of information on the film itself. He shares stories about the cast, praises the iconic score, reflects on the way the news media has changed over the years and talks about alternate footage shot for the television broadcast.

The second commentary features producer Harvey Bernhard, who remembers the challenges of getting the production started and shooting on location in both the States and Israel. He reveals production problems that led to the firing of director Mike Hodges and bringing in Don Taylor as a replacement. He goes on to talk about the budget and praise the cast, but there are gaps of silence as he watches the film.

Actress Lee Grant sits down for the new interview Damien’s Guardian (2019, 16 minutes) in which she praises the original Omen and shares her thoughts on her character in the sequel. She was excited by the chance to work opposite William Holden and enjoyed the supporting cast. There are some interesting production stories including filming the frozen lake sequence and the disappointment of changing directors during the shoot.

In The Devil’s CEO (2019, 16 minutes), actor Robert Foxworth shares his memories of the project. He tells some nice William Holden stories and praises the cast – particularly Jonathan Scott-Taylor as Damien.

Actress Elizabeth Shepherd remembers her time on set in The Harbinger (2019, 27 minutes). She begins with high praise for original director Mike Hodges and expresses her disappointment in his firing and subsequent reshoots. She shares memories of her scenes and details the work that went into filming the bird attack – including a dangerous stunt involving a truck. Shepherd concludes with her thoughts on movie conventions and the opportunity to greet fans.

Elizabeth Shepherd’s Scrapbook (4 minutes) is a collection of her personal behind-the-scenes photographs with audio commentary by the actress.

Power and the Devil: The Making of Damien: Omen II (1978, 7 minutes) is a vintage promotional featurette laced with clips from the movie and interviews with actors William Holden and Jonathan Scott-Taylor. There is also behind-the-scenes footage of filming the frozen lake sequence.

The theatrical trailer is paired with three TV spots and three radio ads.

A still gallery (7 minutes) displays promotional photos, publicity shots, behind-the-scenes images, international poster art and lobby cards.

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Disc 3: The Final Conflict

Special project consultant Scott Michael Bosco is back with another insightful audio commentary, but this time slips down a rabbit hole of heavy theological discussion with some personal asides and thoughts on spirituality in films. I found the talk plodding and challenging, but he does get around to covering aspects of this movie.

Director Graham Baker provides an audio commentary that starts off strong with interesting production stories but quickly descends into onscreen narration and lengthy gaps of silence.

Baker returns for the interview segment The Devil in the Detail (2019, 25 minutes) in which he begins with reflections on the current state of society. From there he praises the script and producer Bernhard and says he sees the film as an occult thriller. He tells some entertaining production stories and reveals his favorite scenes and shares his thoughts on the finished film.

Resurrecting the Devil (2019, 20 minutes) features screenwriter Andrew Birkin remembering the process of coming up with the story and doing Biblical research. He discusses Baker’s shooting style and working within the Hollywood studio system.

In an untitled interview (2019, 17 minutes), production assistant Jeanne Ferber remembers her work on the picture, beginning with high praise for producer Harvey Bernhard. She shares some fun production stories, including one about an error she made in composing the closing credits.

The theatrical trailer is joined by two TV spots.

A photo gallery containing color and black-and-white publicity stills, lobby cards and international poster art plays as a silent slideshow (4 minutes).

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Disc 4: Omen IV: The Awakening

In the segment The Book of Evil (2019, 18 minutes), screenwriter Brian Taggert discusses creating a story that would work within television parameters. He shares his thoughts on child personality development and goes on to tell a number of production stories – including the decision to replace the director halfway through filming. He has kind words for the producer and cast members and is proud of the finished product.

The vintage documentary The Omen Legacy (2001, 102 minutes) takes a look back at the successful franchise through a collection of interviews with members of the cast and crew from all four films and a generous number of clips from the movies. Rightly so, the original film receives the majority of the coverage and there are some great production stories that you won’t want to miss.

The theatrical trailer has been included.

A collection of publicity stills in color and black-and-white play as a silent slideshow (2 minutes).

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Disc 5: The Omen (2006)

Director John Moore, producer Glenn Williamson and editor Dan Zimmermann provide an engaging audio commentary filled with notes on the production and anecdotes from the shoot. They discuss how their film differs from the original and detail how key set pieces were staged. The discussion is lively and informative and worth a listen.

A collection of unrated and extended scenes (7 minutes) reveal the original uncensored versions of three death scenes.

Omenisms – Behind the Scenes of The Omen (2006, 37 minutes) is a daily video production diary covering the duration of the shoot and featuring interviews with key members of the cast and crew. This is an interesting look at the day-to-day challenges of shooting a movie and all the work required to pull it off.

In the featurette Abbey Road Recording Sessions (2006, 10 minutes), composer Marco Beltrami discusses writing an original score for the film. We see behind-the-scenes footage of him at work in the studio as he plays various selections. Audio levels are low on the interviews so you will need to ride the volume.

Revelation 666 (2006, 22 minutes) takes a look at numerology in the Bible and features a wide variety of interviews, including scholars, religious professors and musicians.

A trailer gallery including two teasers and the final trailer provide a look at the marketing campaign.

Grades:

The Omen (1976):
Damien: Omen II:
Omen III: The Final Conflict:
Omen IV: The Awakening:
The Omen (2006):
Fourstars
Threeandahalfstars
Twoandahalfstars
Oneandahalfstars
Oneandahalfstars
Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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