Having survived a murder attempt by his adopted father in The Omen, getting through boarding school and finishing off his uncle in Damien: Omen II, Damien is now 32 years old. After taking over his uncle’s company, Damien has in seven years built Thorn Industries into the worlds largest multinational corporation, manufacturing everything from nuclear armaments to soybean food products. Like John F. Kennedy, Damien is swimming in a sea of power at an early age, rubbing elbows with the upper echelon of those who control the planet.
In these times, at his brink of power, Damien is well aware of who he is and what the prophecies foretell. Quoting the Book of Heberon from his office, he tells how:
“It shall come to pass that in the end of days the beast shall reign 100 score and 30 days and nights… and the faithful shall cry unto the Lord, ‘Wherefore art thou in the days of evil?’ And the Lord shall hear their prayers. And out of the angel isle he shall bring forth a deliverer. A holy lamb of God who will do battle with the beast – and shall destroy him.”
Damien believes that this time it will be different, and the Nazarene will be the one defeated.
The daggers that were to be used to destroy the son of the devil emerge here once again, unearthed from a drilling excavation somewhere in the earth of Chicago. Seven daggers are retrieved from the rubble and sold through all sorts of avenues until it reaches a band of monk priests who are tracking the antichrist and plan to destroy him, Damien Thorn, before the world is destroyed.
Much as Gregory Peck/Liev Schrieber is warned by a priest of Damien’s ultimate plans, we see in this sequel how the story would have and does evolve. The priest said that Damien would kill the unborn child, destroy the family, and take everything around him, rising to power until everything was his. In The Final Conflict, Damien runs a very powerful Thorn Industries, which once belonged to his uncle in Omen II. He attains the position of Ambassador of Great Britain – the position once held by his adoptive father in the first film. With his political and financial power, there is only one thing standing in his way from total domination – the birth of the Nazarene – the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The seven monk priests privy to Damien’s plans know of a tri-star convergence also then taking place in the constellation of Cassiopia. Their alignment marks, to the meter, where the newborn Christ can be found. Damien Thorn only knows that the baby Nazarene is born on March 24th, somewhere in England – so his sets his minions out to murder every male child born in England on that date. The result leaves an unusually high infantile murder body count (35) – only four of which are shown with adequate inference to what is occurring. Infants are strangled, drowned, poisoned, suffocated and burned. Its probably the most gruesome facet of this movie.
The rest of it, unfortunately, plays out like a West Wing drama with only one or two violent deaths to break the monotony. Sam Neill does the “devil” thing better than Al Pacino, or most of the actors that put their “mean face” on the screen and try to tell you they’re the son of the devil. For the most part, as in most films, its not scary, seeing someone you know go, “Grrrrrrrr, I’M the antichrist!” Its the moment when the story hits a brick wall and becomes a bit farcical. Enacted murders are few and far between – including one of the worst assassination attempts you’ve ever seen (the one in the TV studio) – but along the way you do manage to get a good burning, with plastic wrapped bodies, some faces impailed by hot irons, and brains splattered all over the wall from a rifle. Its not a total loss.
Omen III – The Final Conflict was a bit over the top for what you’d expect in a horror sequel from the 80’s – with a high production value, good actors, and faithful continuance of the storyline – but even the great Sam Neill cant put enough horror value into this well played yet spookless sequel that does nothing more than bring the story to its inevitable conclusion. Some gore and darkness, but nothing compared to the first two – even Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack is awkward – a little too “noisy” and overdone. Omen III is where the screenplay gets stretched as far as it can go to the point where it becomes nearly completely transparent and predictable. If you’re into it for the story, check it out for its trilogy conclusion value. If you’re into it for demonics and gorus spectactularis, it may not contain the sustenance and nutritional value a hungrier horror appetite desires.
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