Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)

Director: Jorge Montesi, Dominique Othenin-Gerard
Starring: Faye Grant, Michael Woods, Asia Vieira

"Did you order clowns?"
-Some Random Nun

There’s an Omen IV? That’s really all I could think when I saw this one for the first time. I was just so shocked. But certainly I was never going to review it. I hated the last two Omen movies, so I was going to stay as faaaaaar away from this one as humanly possible. I would never rev---oh, fuck it, why do I bother? Hey, everybody, let’s take a trip down cocaine-smokin’ pointless sequel land and into the magical realm of What-the-Fuck-ville, where anomalies like this particular wart on the anus of horror cinema reside…

This movie starts off with the inconspicuous and totally innocent adoption of a child. But after the loving parents take their brand new baby home for the first time, we see a young nun feeling guilty about it. She talks to her superior, freaking out about the spontaneous eclipse, her superior slaps her around a little bit and then promptly has a heart attack and dies. The younger nun runs downstairs into the church and sees a cross turning upside down, and then she falls to the ground and lets out a really exaggerated scream. And I mean…this is bad acting right here. Please, someone use the money made on this movie to send her back to acting school!

Oh, hold on. Wait a second. They didn’t make any money on this movie? Well, gee, color me surprised.

Then we get to indulge in all the usual Omen festivities.  Like seeing baby Delia start to cry furiously as she’s about to be baptized. Except this time the priest dies right away in the same manner as the head nun does, after they leave…and in one of the strangest scenes of the franchise, the mother gets scratched by the infant baby and actually gets an infection. It must have messed with her brain cells a little bit though, as we see her a few years later playing hide and seek with her daughter at a birthday party right next to a big road where a huge 18-wheel truck is coming by. Because that’s good parenting, right? She gets saved by her own personal Lassie that looks exactly like the dog in the first movie. Oh, and did I mention that Delia's big intimidating moment thus far is biting on the face of a Barbie doll? Truly strikes fear into the heart of men, I tell you.

At pre-school she gets into a fight with a kid who stomps on her lunch box, and then apparently she bites him, so they’re all in trouble now. She keeps fucking around with the kid and scaring him, so his father gets mad and gets his head cut off by a truck delivering some…clown bouncy balls to the school for some reason. Didn’t we see this exact same thing in the original Omen? I think we did. And it was cooler there. Then we get the school’s…random horse riding day, because every school has a random horse riding day, and the animals start going crazy! Surprised? Well, maybe if this kind of thing didn’t happen in the other movies before it, as well as any other movie involving Satanic themes. And then we even get a nanny hired for “special needs children”…goddammit, are you assholes even trying? This is EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST OMEN MOVIE ALL OVER AGAIN. Except instead of riveting suspense, we get dullard boredom and trite retreading of already established clichés. It’s not scary, it’s just fucking dull.

Since the movie isn’t stupid enough yet, they add in the idea that Delia is actually menstruating at eight years old. I know that really happens in some extreme cases, but it’s just silly in the context of this particular movie. And it still isn’t stupid enough yet, so what do we get? Brace yourselves here. The babysitter, Jo, is heavy into psychic babble and believes in auras and crystals and all sorts of mystical crap like that, and she actually convinces the mother to let her take Delia to – get ready – a psychic fair. And then just by walking around, the whole fair burns to the ground in less than five minutes as everyone goes running for their lives.

…do I even have to say anything about this? I mean, the original Omen movies were never subtle, but this is about as blatant as you can get. First, a psychic fair? Really? That’s the mom’s idea of a good outing for her child? And second…I just can’t even describe how funny it is to watch this scene. Just the way it goes from…well, what the movie considers normal…to random, haphazard, flaming chaos is just too much. It’s so over the top that it becomes goofy and corny as hell.

And then Jo the babysitter dies by getting thrown out a window while trying to “connect” with Delia, lands on a children’s playground accessory, and the mother faints upon seeing it. Haha. Hahahaha! That is all I have to say to this cheesy scene. God, can’t this movie even conjure up one ounce of suspense or fright at all? It’s about as useful as a screwdriver that doesn’t fit around any screws. And do you really have to have all of this really obvious shit pointing out that she’s the villain? Drawing inverted crosses in the sand, getting pissy when asked to recite a prayer at dinner…gee, I wonder why she does those things! Too bad it is in no way scary or interesting.

Then there’s a scene where she tears up a Jesus pamphlet handed to her by some door-to-door Jehovah’s Witnesses…oh my god, I just about died laughing. You know what? I think this was supposed to be a comedy. Yeah, that’s it. This is just too funny to be a horror movie; it must be a comedy! Listen to that music; it’s so fluffy and pompous that it sounds like the soundtrack to an on-ice ballet or something. Pure comedy. The mother goes to see a private detective who distracts the people he’s trying to get info from by having his buddies dress up like clowns? Yup, that’s a comedy for you. Hammy scenes of him interrogating people revealing a plot that is too convoluted and nonsensical to even be summarized…yup, that’s a comedy for you. Then the wife’s baby is born and it’s way, way too big to be a brand new baby. I mean that thing has got to be way more than the average weight for a newborn infant. Did they have any budget for this shit at all?

The detective tracks down the young nun from the beginning of the movie while she is trying to prove that snakes can’t hurt them because they have Jesus. But he shows her a picture of baby Delia, so the snakes hurt her and kill her. Lots of inverted crosses, lots of omen-ous deaths. The detective gets killed by a wrecking ball…and the rest of the movie is basically the mother going insane and over-acting over everything. Apparently the family doctor was involved in a conspiracy theory to bring out Delia’s brother who is…also the antichrist for some reason, and…oh, fuck it, I don’t know. God, and finally it’s over. A 100 minute movie that felt like it was pushing on 200.

Now, don’t get me wrong. As a comedy, this is golden, with tons of hilarious scenes for your consumption. The only problem? IT WAS MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. I mean honestly, who was this supposed to market to? The plot is so loose that it might as well be tied together with twisty-ties or rubber bands, the little girl is so obviously evil that it’s ridiculous to think nobody would notice earlier, and there are a million things that are either so stupid that it’s impossible to take seriously, or are just rip-offs of the original Omen. Oh, and it took two directors to make this movie; just...why? There’s no reason to watch this shitfest! Just stay away. Stay as far away as possible. Avoid this like you would avoid a confrontation with the devil…oh, wait.