Directed by John Moore (2006)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Dec 16 2006
"Unbelievably bad" was the first thing that came to mind when the credits rolled on John Moore's brutal remake of Richard Donner's much loved 1976 Satanic child horror film. The story should be familiar to everyone: The Thorn's have a kid named Damien who just so happens to be the offspring of Satan and a jackyl. Because of this, the kid has the pressure of being the antichrist on his shoulders and what better way to release that pressure than to kill people. The remake more or less follows the original storyline, but can't capture the atmosphere and competence of the orginal film.
The casting absolutely sucks in this movie. Cotton Weary (otherwise known as Liev Schreiber) plays Robert Thorn, the American ambassador to Britian whose main talent is having a face made of stone. My girlfriend actually said she thought he was playing the same role that he did in the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, essentially a human robot. Julia Stiles and her oddly wide face overact in every scene. It doesn't help that she has absolutely no chemistry with Schreiber and you never get the feeling that these two are actually married, let alone love each other. The kid who plays Damien makes a lot of funny faces that I assumed were supposed to be frightening, but instead made me giggle like a little girl. His freakout face in the car when they drive past a church is priceless. It doesn't help that his two lines of dialogue and total screen time of about 5 minutes makes it difficult to even understand why he is such a threat. The directing is typically shoddy. It just looks like every other over glossed, over produced piece of crap. Moore is unable to build any sense of dread or atmosphere. That's kind of amazing since Damien is supposed to bring about the end of the world, yet it never feels like it is going to happen.
I can't think of a single reason to watch this. Not even the deaths are very cool, as the famous decapitation from the original is replaced by a lame setup (a sign swings down and cuts off his head from behind) that lasts about two seconds. Mia Farrow shows up as the nanny from hell. Maybe her agent told her this was a remake of Rosemary's Baby because I can't understand why she would agree to be in this film. She shows up every now and then to spoon feed Damien and cause havoc, but Farrow doesn't bring anything to the character, and again, you never really feel she is a threat, even when she's killing people.
There isn't a single reason in heaven or hell to watch this film. It's absolutely terrible and I really want my $3.95 back. Somewhere, the devil is laughing his ass off.