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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Don Taylor
Cast:
William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor
Writing Credits:
Stanley Mann, Michael Hodges

Synopsis:
Now 13 years old, Damien finally learns of his destiny under the guidance of an unholy disciple of Satan.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$3,880,880 on 525 screens.
Domestic Gross
$26,518,355.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
French Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Cantonese
Mandarin
Korean
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 10/7/2008
Available as Part of ďOmen CollectionĒ

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Producer Harvey Bernhard
• Trailer


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RELATED REVIEWS


Damien: Omen II [Blu-Ray] (1978)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 24, 2019)

Although the ďslasherĒ genre spawned a slew of successful franchises, films about evil kids found it tougher to enjoy long-term popularity. Sure, 1973ís mega-hit The Exorcist managed to stretch to a few sequels, but none of them found much of an audience.

1976ís The Omen fared even worse. It generated two little-regarded sequels as well as a much-disliked 2006 remake.

Though I saw the 1976 original and the 2006 edition, I never took in the sequels. It looks like time to rectify that with a screening of 1978ís Damien: Omen II.

In the first film, we learned that young Damien appeared to be the literal spawn of Satan. Now 13 years old, Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) lives with relatives outside Chicago.

Damien resides with uncle Richard (William Holden) and aunt Ann (Lee Grant) because his parents died years earlier due to Damienís evil nature. Older and wiser, Damien starts to grow into his powers and become a threat that Richard needs to stop.

As I indicated in that review, I felt the original Omen seemed fairly mediocre. I thought the film occasionally sparked to life but it lacked the real horror I anticipated.

I wonít claim that the original Omen looks like genius compared to Damien, but the 1976 film definitely holds up better. Largely silly and pointless, the sequel lacks much reason to exist.

Beyond money, of course, as it seems clear that Damien found a way to cinemas solely as a potential cash cow. That said, I think a sequel made sense in this case, as the 1976 movie ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, so it seems logical to see how Damienís evil progresses.

Couldnít the producers come up with a more compelling tale than this, though? A story about an adolescent anti-Christ opens up to all sorts of possibilities, but the producers seemed determined to follow as banal a path as possible.

This means a dull story about Richardís business and Damienís potential ascension that lacks even the most rudimentary dramatic value. Though a subplot traces how advocates tutor Damien, the end result seems more like a series of boardroom discussions than a taut thriller.

On the sporadic occasions when the movie attempts horror, its execution falters. Should we feel frightened by a scene in which a crow lands outside a bedroom and an old lady keels over?

I guess so, but we donít, and other ďscare scenesĒ feel even sillier. Overacting and goofy cinematic touches defuse any potential horror and bring us a dopey affair.

Even a scene in which we see Damienís preternatural abilities in a duel with a teacher feel more like demonic Rain Man than something truly frightening, and the film wastes a reasonably good cast.

Actually, as Damien himself, Scott-Taylor acquits himself fairly well, as he avoids the urge to overplay his part. The adults show no such restraint and tend to chow on scenery.

Stuck in a dull affair, I guess the actors felt desperate to enliven the proceedings. They canít, so Damien winds up as a sluggish, scare-free tale.


The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Damien: Omen II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While much of the image looked very good, some inconsistencies occurred.

The issues mainly impacted sharpness. Much of the film came with appropriate delineation, but more than a few oddly soft spots popped up, and those became a sporadic distraction.

Neither jagged edges nor shimmering marred the proceedings, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws also remained minor, as I witnessed only an occasional speck or mark.

In terms of colors, Damien veered toward an earthy feel, with a lot of browns and reds. Though the hues didnít dazzle, they seemed appropriate and well-rendered.

Blacks were reasonably deep and dense, while shadows became fairly clear and smooth. Other than the mild bouts of softness, the image worked well.

As for the filmís DTS-HD MA 5.1 remix, it often hewed close to the source. This meant a track that often remained largely one-channel.

Music broadened to the side speakers well, and occasional effects opened to the five channels, too. These focused on a few ďscareĒ scenes, which meant most of the elements stayed monaural.

This created an odd balance. Because so much of the movie kept the effects located in the front center, the instances where it used the other channels stood out as a distraction.

Audio quality felt dated but acceptable. Music showed pretty good range, while effects came across with decent clarity and accuracy.

Though speech could seem somewhat reedy, the lines remained intelligible and clean. Because the soundscape felt awkward, Iíd recommend that viewers stick with the included original monaural instead.

In addition to the filmís trailer, we get an audio commentary from producer Harvey Bernhard. Along with moderator JM Kenny, he offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, music, and other domains.

Though somewhat erratic, this usually becomes a fairly informative chat. Bernhard loses steam at times but he usually offers a pretty good overview of the film, and Kenny adds prompts that help develop the discussion in a mostly pleasing manner.

As far as horror sequels go, you can do worse than Damien: Omen II, but donít view that as praise. While the movie doesnít become outright junk, it seems dull and flat too much of the time. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture with mediocre audio and a largely informative commentary. Maybe Iíll like the third film in the series better, but Damien: Omen II fails to do much for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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