Sinister Screens

The First Omen (2024) ★★★

The First Omen



When a young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her own faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.


The origins of The Omen series debuted when I was two years old. But the term Damien, 666 and the antichrist was something thrown around in my early years. The movie made its mark, synonymously linked to evil incarnate. So when this series was reignited all these years later, it brought back memories, and I caught the prequel on the big screen.

Religious horror is a breeding ground for the creepy. There’s so much ick-factor in modern Christianity and especially Catholicism. This is displayed perfectly in this film. From the moment Margaret (played by Nell Tiger Free) arrives in Rome, there’s a brief beauty in the new surroundings, then the eerie inner workings of the church taints it all. It’s dark, decadent, and dreadful and nothing is what it should be. The cinematography is brilliantly executed, the soundtrack is also perfect.

But the story is always the most important criteria for me. One of the drawbacks to the film is it’s so confined to the original series there’s not much room left for innovation or to break new ground in horror. This makes The First Omen really predictable. While there is more visceral horror, particularly in the birth scenes, there’s not much else taken away from this film. The acting is top-notch. The inclusion of Bill Nighy and Ralph Ineson is effective. Nell Tiger Free is tremendous as Margaret. But, due to the constraints of not innovating away—or expanding—from the original series, overall nothing really catapults this movie from being a completely average horror film.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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