A ridiculously pure soon-to-be-politician and his ex-lawyer wife adopt an eeeeevil baby. Though as evil babies go, this one isn’t that bad, and even if she does cause a death or seven, she’s still better than her new mom. Here’s a woman who would distrust her own kid even if it was God himself with angelic trumpets blaring. After a series of ho-hum deaths, Sucko-Mom hires a private detective who discovers that they are all stuck in a bad repeat of the original The Omen, with touches of Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie.
So, The Omen III ends (yes, I’m about to give away that film’s climax), with the Antichrist defeated by the second coming of Christ. That’s right, Jesus is back. So naturally, the story continues with a new demonic child and…wait a minute. I may be an atheist, but I’m pretty sure that the second coming of Christ means game over. That’s it. End of all things. And no more Devil on Earth. Well, not this time. Apparently, Jesus came and went, and no one noticed. Doesn’t surprise me. James Dobson and Jerry Falwell wouldn’t recognize the Prince of Peace if he came down and bit them on the ass.
Even though Omen IV ignores the return of the big J, it is obviously a very religious film, right? It has the Antichrist, and mentions the Book of Revelations, and there are some nuns… I suppose there is a Devil somewhere, turning crosses over and giving people heart attacks. I suppose. And if there is a Devil, there must be a God. Except, there isn’t. God has zero to do with this film. Nothing. And the Devil isn’t much more available. The Catholic church is of no help at all, crosses do nothing, and faith is pointless. And to confuse matters, new age mysticism works, to the extent that it can detect evil. Then it becomes worthless. This is a movie that accepts the existence of evil children and black magic, but that’s about as spiritual as it gets.
But don’t think that a preaching-free environment is going to make this fun-filled entertainment. This is a flick where the first hack director quit to be replaced by an even worse hack, a character’s name is misspelled in the credits, and it went direct to FOX TV. Sounding bad yet? How about the biggest part going to Faye Grant, whose greatest performance was in V, a mini-series that has sullied the sci-fi genre for years. Not bad enough? Well, there’s dialog like, “Why did you do that? What evil made you do that?” And since it just repeats the plot of The Omen, there are no surprises.
It does have a creepy little girl. Sure, there have been better creepy little girls (try watching The Ring), but I’m a sucker for creepy little girls, and this one will do nicely. However, I’m guessing I wasn’t supposed to be rooting for her. And perhaps that’s where things really went wrong. The original film worked because it was all shown through the eyes of a sympathetic character, and with him, we saw the horror grow. But here the perspective jumps all around. There’s no one for the viewer to latch on to. The most time is spent with the mother, but not enough to allow us to find positive traits that could mitigate her many negative ones. I just wanted some upside down cross to get wedged in her mouth and shut her up for awhile. We’re also shown things from the view of the Creepy Little Girl, but too sporadically to make her our hero. Too bad. That was the way to go. Just let the audience wallow in the killing. But it didn’t happen. Instead, I spent the whole film on the outside looking in.
The Omen didn’t need a sequel, much less three of them. That first film will be remembered as an enjoyable bit of overwrought Christian mythology. Omen IV won’t be remembered at all.