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The Omen (June 4/06)

Another month, another horror remake. Though it's certainly not as bad as various other entries in this burgeoning genre - ie House of Wax, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc - The Omen primarily comes off as a slow-paced, surprisingly tedious update that ultimately feels more redundant than anything else.

Liev Schrieber stars as Robert Thorn, a successful diplomat who agrees to take in a homeless newborn after the death of his own baby during childbirth - though he neglects to inform his wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles), of the switch. Years later, when it becomes clear that little Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) doesn't just look extremely sinister, Robert finds himself forced to take matters into his own hands.

The Omen's been directed by John Moore, a filmmaker with a distinctly bland, workmanlike sense of style - as evidenced in watchable yet visually inert flicks like Behind Enemy Lines and Flight of the Phoenix. The movie is consequently devoid of an underlying feeling of dread, with individual sequences far more engaging than the whole (ie there's a terrifically suspenseful bit in which Damien, riding around his house on a scooter, stalks his mother before going in for the kill).

Moore's decision to ape its predecessor's exceedingly deliberate pace proves to be disastrous; there are long stretches within the film's midsection that are just stupefyingly dull, primarily due to the fact that we're several steps ahead of Schrieber's Robert Thorn. As such, the plethora of sequences that find Robert immersed in an investigation revolving around the true nature of his son can't help but come off as superfluous and thoroughly monotonous. This feeling of apathy extends to virtually every facet of the film's production, and there are moments in which the viewer is drawn more to the impressive set design than to the actual content of individual scenes.

And while The Omen does improve as it progresses - that infamous decapitation is much more impressive here than in the original - there's simply no overlooking the needlessness with which much of the film has been imbued.

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