Omen III: The Final Conflict
the omen | omen iii: the final conflict | graham baker | andrew birkin | sam neill | rossano brazzi | don gordon | antichrist | religion | sequel | united kingdom | united states | lisa harrow | barnaby holm | mason adams | robert arden | leueen willoughby | marc boyle
Film: Omen III: The Final Conflict
Director: Graham Baker
Writer: Andrew Birkin
Starring: Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi and Don Gordon
This was another of these films that I’m pretty sure I saw once in college, but I used to remember seeing the VHS case at the video store all of the time. It always intrigued me, but for whatever reason I never saw it. The synopsis is the now adult Antichrist plots to eliminate his future divine opponent while a cabal of monks plot to stop him.
We pick up this one in what I’m assuming is 1981. They are excavating something in Chicago. It turns out to be the Thorn Museum and one of the workers notices a dagger of Mediggo. He takes it and they end up in an auction. A man purchases them, does his research and they get sent to the monastery from the first film where they come into the possession of DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi). He along with a group of other monks goes about what they can to stop the Antichrist.
Damien Thorn is now an adult and played by Sam Neill. He is upset with the commercial idea his company and we get to hear in that they might be doing some shady things. Damien is fully aware of he’s the Antichrist and doing what he can to position himself to raise to power. His personal secretary is Harvey Dean (Don Gordon) and he also knows the truth of his leader. Damien states that he’s about to made ambassador for the United States in England. When Harvey asks what is going to happen to the current one, we get to see that play out.
Much like he predicted, Damien meets with the President of the United States (Mason Adams). Damien plays coy with him and states he cannot give up his company like the law requires, but the president tells him they will overlook that. This is a fitting thing for the current state that the United States is in that is similar to a movie that is almost 40 years old. Damien also wants to put in charge of the youth United Nations. This is problematic that the President has already offered this to someone else, but Damien reveals some information that he will give to the President so he makes the deal. Damien then heads to take the same position his father had all those years ago.
We see the reason that he wants this is that the second coming of Jesus is upon us. The prophecy from the bible is that this child will come from ‘angel isle’, which Damien believes to mean England as that is the original name. He then goes about having Harvey slaughter all children that were born on this specific date foretold by the stars. This is a problem for Harvey, as his own son was born on that date, between the times he stated. Damien also caught the attention of a television interviewer, Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow) and her son Peter (Barnaby Holm).
DeCarlo is there with his brothers to stop him before he can kill the holy child, but it won’t be easy. DeCarlo also reaches out to Kate as well as Barbara Dean (Leueen Willoughby), Harvey’s wife, to tell her what Damien is asking them to do. Can he be stopped before he destroys the savior of the human race?
Now this is fitting movie that I would watch the day before Easter with its subject matter and if you know anything about me, I’m all about horror films that are basing themselves in religion. To reiterate, I am an atheist, but I love mythology. Not to offend anyone, but that is how I look at Christianity, especially since many of its stories align with mythology that you can see across multiple religions.
I bring up that information in the previous paragraph as I like where they’re taking this story. Damien in the previous film learns that he’s the Antichrist and he goes about reading into what that entails. By the time of this, he has fully bought in and I like that. He’s the villain in the original and the second one in the way that people are trying to destroy him so he’s preserving himself and it seems like he has outside forces helping. Here though, he’s the villain for sure and he wants his people to do horrible things to prevent his demise, which includes murdering a bunch of babies. I love how dark this goes. There’s a slight problem here that with how the deaths happen in the previous two films, I don’t know if he needs to have someone to actually fulfill them for it and that seems now like something they did for convenience and making it more difficult here for tension.
Going from this though, I still love that they aren’t violating any continuity from the previous film, just building more on the story that has been presented. Also bringing something back yet again is the idea that we have a skeptical character being asked to believe and to help. I love though that they keep the character rational despite the evidence. If someone came to me with this information, I’d have trouble believing them as well. Kate is an investigative reporter of sorts. She needs to see real evidence, which becomes problematic when dealing with religion or the supernatural. It is there and when her son starts to buy into what Damien is saying, it raises the stakes even more.
I want to take this to the pacing of the movie, which I think this could be the longest of the three. I actually didn’t really mind it though, as there is quite a bit of moving parts to get us to the conclusion. Earlier I stated that they don’t violate continuity, which I will get back to in just a second. This movie paces out deaths of the monks that are trying to stop him and this causes Damien to collect the daggers of Mediggo. How he can be defeated though isn’t what was established in the first movie as what happens in the end of this one so I do find that to be slightly problematic in my opinion. Not enough to ruin the movie. This one also has an uplifting ending, which I don’t always love. There’s not much more you can build on here, which is why it took them until the 1990’s to do a straight to video sequel.
What I’ve really wanted to talk about would be the acting. I’ll come out and say it that I’m a big fan of Neill. My first encounter with him was Jurassic Park and since then I’ve seen him in quite a few things. I love his take on Damien in that it feels like a ‘wolf in sheep’s skin’. He seems so nice, but we see that he’s a horrible person on the inside. He’s extremely charismatic though so I can see someone like this rise to power. I mean just take a look at the US currently. Brazzi I thought was also good as the wise, old sage who is trying to prevent Damien from reigning. Gordon I think actually has one of the best performances. When I realized he knows about Damien, I thought that was cool and even more so though when he’s faced with killing his own child for his leader or to do what is right. Harrow is good as the character that needs to figure out the truth and making it more complicated that her son has become almost a ‘Hitler Youth’ with what he’s doing. Holm, Adams and Willoughby along with the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed in my opinion.
That will take me to the effects of the movie, which actually didn’t really have a lot of them. I would say of the three, this is probably the best of the bunch even though we don’t have a lot of iconic deaths. There’s really just a scene where the three stars align as they do in the bible, but we kind of get to see that happening through Damien having a vision so that is fine. There’s something at the end I found to be slightly cheesy, but not enough to ruin it. There is though a great effect with a baby that looked amazing. The cinematography I thought was also fine.
The last thing to go over would be the soundtrack. What I’m disappointed is that they seem to have gone away from using the chorus type Latin singing. They started off with it, but I don’t remember it after the first like 15-20 minutes. I was a bit bummed by that as it is normally off-putting and unsettling. I would still say that the soundtrack fit for what was needed.
Now with that said, I’m glad that I’ve given this original trilogy a rewatch after all of these years. They’re interesting movies with a lot to delve into. I like where Neill takes the character of Damien now that he fully knows who he is and what he’s here to do. There’s a lot to delve into this movie with the religious aspects for sure. Even though this is the longest of the 3, I think that it needs it to flesh out what they’re going for. There are some problems I have that are slight including the soundtrack. The effects were solid and the rest of the acting was good. I would have to say that this is an above average movie for sure. You can watch this alone as it does give enough back-story to enjoy, but I recommend it as a series to get the full story of what got Damien where he is.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10