Movie Reviews
The First Omen (2024).

The First Omen Review: Nell Tiger Free Deserves All The Awards

The First Omen skillfully weaves a prequel tapestry that fans of the franchise will undoubtedly appreciate. Directed by Arkasha Stevenson, with a screenplay penned by Tim SmithKeith Thomas, and Stevenson herself, the film not only enriches the lore of its predecessor, The Omen (1976), but also stands as a formidable supernatural horror film in its own right. Featuring standout performances by Nell Tiger FreeSônia BragaRalph InesonBill Nighy, and Tawfeek Barhom, the film is both a narrative and visual feast, darkly engaging from start to finish.

At the heart of The First Omen is Margaret Daino (Nell Tiger Free), an American novitiate whose journey to take her vows at a Rome-based orphanage quickly spirals into a nightmarish quest entangled with demonic prophecies and a chilling conspiracy. The movie’s adept narrative unfolds with a measured pace, gracefully balancing horror elements with a suspenseful storyline that explores themes of faith, deception, and the eternal battle between good and evil. Margaret’s transition from a naive young woman to a protagonist grappling with the realization of her own involvement in a prophecy is both compelling and convincingly portrayed by Free.

Arkasha Stevenson’s direction shines throughout the film. Most particularly in how she crafts the eerie atmosphere that fans of The Omen series expect. The haunting score and cinematography synergize to create a palpable tension that lingers long after the screen goes dark. Scenes depicting supernatural occurrences are executed with a finesse that avoids overreliance on CGI, opting instead for practical effects and ambiance to evoke fear and anticipation.

The supporting cast also adds depth to the narrative. Ralph Ineson’s Father Brennan and Bill Nighy’s Cardinal Lawrence deliver powerful performances that are both menacing and enthralling. Sônia Braga as Sister Silvia provides a nuanced portrayal of faith tested by diabolical forces. This further enriches the film’s complex web of characters. Tawfeek Barhom’s Father Gabriel stands as a beacon of conflicted morality. He adds layers to the narrative that invite viewers to ponder the nuances of belief and the price of redemption.

Despite its strengths, The First Omen is not without its shortcomings. The film sometimes struggles with pacing, particularly in its middle section. This is where the narrative appears to meander before finding its footing once more. Additionally, while the plot strives to lay a foundation for the events leading to the original The Omen, it occasionally lapses into predictability. Some twists feel less surprising and more like necessary steps to align with the franchise’s lore.

Another point of contention could be the film’s ending. Although it provides a satisfyingly cyclical connection to the 1976 movie, it might leave some viewers desiring a more innovative departure from the expected trajectory of the franchise. However, this does not significantly detract from the overall experience, thanks in large part to the strong performances and the deftly handled thematic elements of destiny, familial bonds, and the unsettling question of whether evil is truly born or made.

The First Omen also excels in its world-building. It expertly lays down the sinister groundwork that fans know will lead to the events of The Omen. The screenplay offers new insights and expanding upon the universe. It does so in a way that feels both respectful to the original and fresh. The societal tensions of the 1970s and Rome’s architecture add authenticity and gravity to the story.

The First Omen is a commendable addition to the franchise. It will not only satisfy long-standing fans but also has the potential to allure new viewers into its dark embrace. The film succeeds in delivering a riveting horror experience with strong performances and a compelling narrative. Stevenson’s direction and the talented cast make this prequel a worthy companion to the original. It reminds viewers of the series’ chilling allure. With The First Omen, the franchise’s legacy of horror is not only honored but invigorated. It paves the way for future explorations of its sinister world.

The First Omen Review: Nell Tiger Free Deserves All The Awards
  • Acting - 10/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 10/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 8/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8.5/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
  • Rewatchability - 8.5/10
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