The First Omen

Create something to fear.

119 min     6.641     2024     USA


When a young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her own faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.


Manuel São Bento wrote:
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ "The First Omen holds many narrative issues and a too-safe ending, but it deserves to be seen on the big screen due to its grotesque practical effects, hauntingly well-built atmosphere, and one of the most impressive, transformative performances of the year by Nell Tiger Free. Debutant filmmaker Arkasha Stevenson clearly leaves her mark on a technically sublime film that easily becomes the best installment of the franchise after the original movie. Lead yourself into temptation and embrace the incarnated evil. You won't regret it." Rating: B-
CinemaSerf wrote:
Novice "Margaret" (Nell Tiger Free) arrives in Rome to a welcome from her cardinal sponsor "Lawrence" (Bill Nighy) where she hopes to complete taking her vows. She is greeted with open arms and taken on a tour of what she hopes will become her new home. This is when she encounters the shy "Carlita" (Nicole Sorace) who spends much of her time in solitude drawing. This intrigues "Margaret" but not as much as some of the other goings on in the maternity ward of the hospital. Her concerns are only exacerbated by a meeting with "Fr. Brennan" (Ralph Ineson) who spins her an horrific yarn that makes her head spin and sets her on a detection task that reveals a conspiracy to end all conspiracies - one that is conceived by the church for it's own perpetuation, but that could bring down both it and mankind. At times it's quite a decently paced watch, this, with a little gruesomeness (isn't it odd that the tools of medicine so often look like those of torture?) but given we have known the denouement since 1976 the lack of any real jeopardy does rather rob the film of much of a sense of menace and what "jump moments" there are are all a bit predictable. Free does try to imbue her character with a bit of passion, and she manages along well enough but Nighy is weak and the single appearance from Charles Dance adds nothing at all to these lacklustre proceedings. Prequels are always hard to deliver. This tries, but sadly we've seen it all before and I fear the nun theme is beginning to self-flagellate itself to death. A short story over-stretched.