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The First Omen
While better than it has any right to be, this film can still be considered a rather unnecessary legacy prequel.

The First Omen

Release Date: April 5, 2024
Runtime: 02:00
Synopsis:
A young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.

A young nun learns of a plot to birth the antichrist in . In 1971 Rome, American novitiate Margaret Daino () arrives at the behest of Cardinal Lawrence () to work at the Vizzardeli Orphanage run by Sister Silva (). Margaret is drawn to troubled teen Carlita (), who reminds Margaret of her troubled upbringing. However, Margaret is soon approached by Father Brennan () about a sinister plot to birth the antichrist, which Carlita might be the centre of.

The First Omen Synopsis

The First Omen is a religious horror film co-written and directed by Arkasha Stevenson, which serves as a legacy prequel to 1976's The Omen. Set five years before the events of the original, the film opens with Ralph Ineson (The Green Knight) as Father Brennan, a character played by Patrick Troughton in the original, trying to get information about the plot to birth the antichrist from Father Harris (). The action then moves to Rome, where students protest against the Catholic Church's authority.

The young protagonist of Margaret Daino, played by Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones, Servant), arrives at the Vizzardeli Orphanage, as she prepares to make her vows. However, after blacking out during a night partying with her roommate Luz Valez (), Margaret begins to experience horrifying and demonic visions. Following the sudden suicide of one of the other nuns at the orphanage, Margaret seeks help from Father Brennan and Father Gabriel () to expose the truth of a plot to birth the antichrist.

My Thoughts on The First Omen

In an age where legacy sequels to films such as Halloween and The Exorcist have grown in popularity, The First Omen opts to go the prequel route and depict the events that lead directly to the 1976 original. Director Arkasha Stevenson (Channel Zero) also seems inspired by films such as Rosemary's Baby and Possession when creating a film that often takes a more psychological approach. That said, The First Omen also features some shocking and graphic moments, including a demonic birth sequence that might end up becoming the film's most infamous scene.

Spurred by the lead performance by Nell Tiger Free and featuring solid supporting turns from the likes of Ralph Ineson and Bill Nighy, The First Omen is a film that probably ends up being better than it could've been. The film also features some very poignant themes about the rise of secularism in the modern age and how younger generations are no longer seeking guidance from the Church. This includes a somewhat shocking subversion of the Satanic cult aspect of the story, which might come off as blasphemous to some.

While better than it has any right to be, The First Omen can still be considered a rather unnecessary legacy prequel. The film sets things up to tie in directly with the original film while leaving some threads open for future films. At the very least, The First Omen is better than The Exorcist: Believer.

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Trailer for The First Omen

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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