Monday, August 27, 2018
Damien: Omen II (1978) * *
Directed by: Don Taylor, Mike Hodges
Starring: William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Meshach Taylor, Alan Arbus, Sylvia Sidney, Lew Ayres, Elizabeth Shepherd, Lucas Donat, Lance Henriksen
The Omen (1976) was a creepy thriller about a six-year-old Antichrist, but it was plausible because a.) the child was only six and b.) trying to convince someone his adopted son is the Antichrist is rough sledding. But, Gregory Peck's Robert Thorn was finally convinced and nearly pulled off stabbing his son to death with ancient daggers designed for such an occasion. Damien: Omen II, released two years after The Omen, picks up Damien's story as he turns thirteen. He has a flat, menacing British accent which suggests the evil lurking within him. Damien (Scott-Taylor) does not know who he is, but he learns soon enough, and after about ten seconds of thought accepts his destiny.
Damien: Omen II might've been more successful if didn't try to copy the original's story, with the only difference being Damien's age. The adults (those who aren't already working on Satan's behalf) are slow studies. Accident after accident befalls anyone who falls within this kid's line of sight, and his rich Uncle Richard (Holden) and Aunt Ann (Grant) (who are now his guardians) don't seem to notice the common denominator. The first film stretched this idea as far as it could go. This one only continues the trend. As in The Omen, the poor people destined to die do so according to their names on the poster. The stars die last and the supporting players go in order of screen time.
The only wrinkle thrown in is the evolution of Richard's Thorn Industries into a global power with malicious intentions now that it is run by Satan's disciple Paul Buher (Foxworth), who is Richard's trusted lieutenant, but unbeknownst to Richard is a Satanist assigned to protect Damien. A lot of things seem unbeknownst to Richard and his wife, even as friends and eventually their own biological son fall prey to spooky accidents. You would think it wouldn't take them as long as it does to figure things out, especially with Richard's own brother dying in the first one under strange circumstances.
Damien: Omen II even tries to recycle Jerry Goldsmith's "Ave Satani" for this film. The entire sequel feels recycled and rehashed, trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of an idea which lost steam already. What was sinister and effective is simply a retread now. And Ann deserves what she gets. Sorry.