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June 12, 2006 - Image 12

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-12

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 12, 2006
men' lel the start
of cinematic apocalypse

By Jeffrey Bloomer
Managing Editor
It's been 30 years to the month since the
1976 Gregory Peck/Lee Renick vehicle "The
Omen" opened in American theaters, and oh
how things have changed.
The original film was
released in the height of The Omen
the post-Vietnam adult At the Showcase
horror renaissance, a and Quality 16
quaint, unnerving super- 20th Century Fox
natural mish-mash of fears
over international politics
and outsider infiltration of the nuclear fami-
ly. Released in the still-boiling wake of "The
Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby," which
rocked the scene just a few years before, the
film may have been a frivolous genre exer-
cise, but it was about as good as those get,
a tense, mildly blasphemous freak-out of a
good time.
Now, we have the remake, and if the old-
school charm of the original feels a little
dated in the face of today's blood-on-every-
surface mentality, this "Omen" commits a sin
unlikely for a film so calculatedly silly: It's
an unmitigated bore. The movie arrives amid
a cinematic culture where chalky, saucer-
eyed kids are the status quo, and so its ada-
mant refusal to submit to the extravagantly
overdone subset of killer-little-kid camp is

especially perplexing. It seems intent on the
rather diluted notion that its ramblings actu-
ally mean something, and more power to it, I
really, but when even the arrival of Mia Far-
row as a satanic child-care professional feels
uninspired, that can't be a good sign.
The film stars a bored-looking Liev Sch-
reiber ("The Manchurian Candidate"), whose
agent will soon be looking for work, and a
vacant Julia Stiles ("The Bourne Suprema-
cy"), whose agent no longer exists. Schreiber
plays a U.S. ambassador who, following the
supposed stillborn death of his son, covertly
adopts an orphan in his place. Everything is
kosher until the boy's fifth birthday - the
age where he can successfully commit vehic-
ular manslaughter with a scooter and shoot
convincing murdering-little-bastard looks -
when the customary Rottweilers, bad dreams
and other Lucifer-inspired goings-on begin
to shake things up.
As it turns out, they adopted the son of the
devil. Bummer. How did he get here? Gentle- "courtesy o 20th century Fox
men never tell, but it definitely involves a "i know she's my mom and all, but damn that girl is fine."
jackal, and that, my friends, is all you really vital, painfully articulate movies like "Unit- ies. What was once a serious-ish adult horror
need to know. ed 93" - and appreciably less vital movies movie has now become another filmic Coli-
The film marks the second time this year like "The Da Vinci Code" - takes center seum of pointless splatter. I recall a cheerful
a commercial horror movie has found it nec- stage while movies like this effortlessly one- conversation between an eager preteen and a
essary to exploit, and, as an added bonus, up their offenses, but then that's the nature friend waiting in line for the next show: "This
include actual footage of the Sept. 11 attacks of the beast. guy gets decapitated! And the nanny gets run
(the other was the comparably regrettable And its general distastefulness aside, the over by a car - twice! And the kid tries to
"Final Destination 3"), attributing it lazily film embodies the problem with the horror kill his mom with a scooter!"
to an arbitrary biblical passage. We can only train of recent years, and it's as much an Twice - it's true. I'm not sure the genre
look on in bemusement as controversy over issue with the audience as it is with the mov- will ever recover.

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