Omen IV: The Awakening

05/05/2020 05:59

Film: Omen IV: The Awakening

Year: 1991

Director: Jorge Montesi and Dominique Othenin-Girard

Writer: Brian Taggert

Starring: Faye Grant, Michael Woods and Michael Lerner



This was a film that I know I saw in college when I picked it up on DVD, but hadn’t seen it in years. I don’t even really remember seeing this one. It is fun that one of my favorite podcasts, 22 Shots of Moodz and Horror, covered this franchise and I know another person on social media just watched this as well. The synopsis here is two attorneys adopt a mysterious orphan girl as their daughter, unaware she is the new Antichrist.

Now I did alter the synopsis just a bit as it has a spoiler in it that I didn’t want to include just yet. We start this at an orphanage where we have Mother Superior (Susan Chapple) and Sister Yvonne (Megan Leitch). Something feels off, but they meet with Karen (Faye Grant) and Gene York (Michael Woods). Karen is asking a million questions about the baby they’re looking to adopt. Her fears at put to ease and they take home Delia. We then see an odd interaction between the two nuns that causes Sister Yvonne to leave as she doesn’t agree with Mother Superior.

They then have a party where Karen shows off her new daughter to her friends. We get a scene though where she believes the baby scratched her face and Dr. Hastings (Madison Mason), a friend who is at the party checks on her. They try to say that it is caused by a safety pin.

We get a little growing up for Delia to be in kindergarten and she is portrayed by Asia Vieira. We see that she has a bit of an attitude as she takes it out on Jerome (James Sherry), a boy who is bullying her. She is calculating and showing the signs of being an early sociopath for sure. This causes the boy’s parents to get involved as well.

Her parents decide to help the little girl. A nanny is hired, Jo Thueson (Ann Hearn). She’s really into crystals as well as mystical healing. She can feel the negative energy surrounding Delia and does what she can to help. This includes trying to turn Karen on to this type of healing and getting her mystical friends involved as well.

As time goes on, Karen really believes there’s something not right about Delia. Gene thinks she is acting crazy. He’s becoming more and more prominent in the political field, so even if he did agree, it is becoming more and more problematic. Karen eventually seeks out Earl Knight (Michael Lerner), a private investigator, to look into their daughter’s past. What he finds, it isn’t quite what she was expecting. She also seeks out a Father Mattson (Duncan Fraser) for his expertise in religion.

Having now gave this a rewatch, this is much better than I remembered. We have an interesting concept here. We know there’s something up when Delia is adopted and this film actually mirrors the original movie very much. What I like here though is that we do some different things to play with that. Everything is pushing for this family to adopt this little girl. Karen is struggling to get pregnant, so she’s a bit desperate. To flip that film and make it more like the sequel, the mother is the one that is distrustful, but it is a gradual thing. This is also something we get in the pervious films and it works to stay in that vein. I like that it doesn’t play its hand too quickly there.

Going from this, we have a private investigator that is looking into Delia’s past. There are mysterious deaths that are going on. An issue I did have though is this does take the supernatural aspects back to the first two films. Delia seems to be semi in control of who is being targeted. We also get some deaths that are somewhat of a mimic to previous films in the series.

I do like as well that they incorporate things that are found in the bible. Karen starts to look at things along with Father Mattson and she really wants to believe when things start to make to sense to her. There’s an odd scene with Sister Yvonne, but at that point has changed her name to Felicity. I don’t know why we get the scene that we do aside from getting Earl away from the city he’s in and wanting to use the effect that they do. This doesn’t ruin anything, but just a bit of convenience. I also didn’t care for the misogynistic twist that happens later in the movie, I would have preferred to remove that and go a bit more mean-spirited for me.

That will take me to the pacing of this movie, which I thought was on point. I never got bored. We could probably have trimmed it to 90 minutes, but the extra 7 we got in the movie were fine with me. As I said, I like how the story built. It doesn’t feel as fresh as it really does feel like an updated version of the original with some tweaks, but being that it came out in the 90’s, I’m forgiving of that. It feels like it needs to start over and if this would have done better, I could see it adding more films to the canon. The ending is quite reminiscent of the original. I was glad about a reveal late in the movie to tie this all back in as I worried it wouldn’t.

The acting I thought was pretty solid as well. I really liked Grant in this role as the parent that is swayed by the evidence she is seeing. It is interesting as it brings into question the motherly instinct and how it is there in the beginning, but the more she learns, the more that wanes, especially with her becoming pregnant. Woods though is a good counterpoint as the rock who doesn’t buy into this supernatural. It really makes you feel for Karen with what we’re seeing, but the rational part of you agrees with Gene. Lerner is solid in his secondary role along with Mason, Hearn and the rest. I thought Vieira is fine. As a child I don’t have many gripes, but there’s a bit lacking in the creepy factor that we got in the first and second Omen.

Another bright spot would be the effects. I’m glad that they didn’t go overtop. They’re pretty subdued to be honest. I would say that even though the deaths are not as iconic, they look pretty solid. You can see the budget isn’t necessarily there so they really leaned into it and hide some things. I don’t really have any issues. I would also say I liked the little things they put in the movie as well. We get to see a lot of upside crosses that are just naturally done. I thought it was a decent little tie-in. The cinematography was also pretty solid in my book.

The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. I do have to take some points as they reused the main theme from the original and the third movie. Incorporating the chorus music that is sung in Latin though really hits a spot with me. It is an eerie feel and helps to not only build the tension in the scenes, but also give that religious vibe. I will slightly take away points for reusing, but not much if I’m honest.

Now with that said, this isn’t as bad a sequel as I remembered it. I’m really glad I gave it a viewing with a more critical eye. Is it a lesser film in the series? Of course it is and it really is just rehashing a lot we got in the original. Since we’re introducing a new character though, I don’t hate it. I thought the acting was good, it is paced in a way where I never got bored and I think this re-working of the story is fine. I like that they brought back the music that we heard in previous films and the effects aren’t as iconic, still looked good to me. I would say that this is an above average movie to be honest and I feel this is worthy of a viewing. You can watch this alone, but it is the worst of the series in my opinion. It does give you all you need to understand. I feel it is interesting to watch all four though to see the progression of the story.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10