It's certainly a bold choice to make a prequel to one of the most iconic horror films of all time, particularly so long after it first came out. The Omen is always mentioned in horror discussions when it comes to greats of the genre, lasting the test of time since its release in 1976. The First Omen releases with a major task at hand; prove yourself to be a worthy predecessor to what came before.

Margaret Daino (Nell Tiger Free) is an American woman sent to work at a church in Rome, where she uncovers a sinister conspiracy to bring about the birth of the Antichrist.
Hot on the heels of Immaculate, to its own detriment, The First Omen is another round of nunsense where you might begin to question its very existence from the off. Sadly, it all feels a little too lethargic and very much been there done that to become anything other than a mediocre horror affair. Arkasha Stevenson shows plenty of promise as a horror filmmaker however, this effort falls a bit flat by the time it reaches its finale. Being a prequel to The Omen, it always needed that link to the classic film, which ends up hindering the film in straying too far down its own path and sees it rush to a slightly underwhelming conclusion.

It's great to see a horror build such an unnerving atmosphere to create scares rather than just rely on jumpscares for all of them. Sure, jumpscares are good but not when overused to such an extent. There's a moment in The First Omen that features a dark corner, a dark figure and an unhinged giggle that had my skin crawling. The opening sequence too is one to remind you we are dealing with a bit of a basket case of a franchise here, ridiculous as it is glorious in the best way.
The First Omen possesses a lead performance from Nell Tiger Free that further proves women are going from strength to strength in the horror genre. What she does here is create a fascinating protagonist whose sense of paranoia grows throughout the film, reaching fever pitch as we reach the finale. Just as Sydney Sweeney in Immaculate, Free is the best thing about this film, her performance bringing it all together - it's just a shame the rest of the film isn't up to her standard. There's a decent supporting cast at the film's disposal yet none of them do enough to truly standout and make the film more memorable.

It's great to see major studios release unhinged religious horrors such as The First Omen, especially as they give us performances of the standard set by Nell Tiger Free here. Much better than The Nun films but not as good as The Pope's Exorcist, it comfortably sits in the middle ground providing audiences with decent scares and some gruesome imagery.

Verdict: ★★★


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