Damien: Omen II (1978)

DamienOmen2

Seven years after his adopted father failed to murder him and spare the world many lives, Damien now lives with his uncle and aunt. A famous industrialist, Richard Thorn is played with great zeal by William Holden, who is wonderful as the well meaning uncle of Damien who is seemingly the first among his family to realize who and what Damien is. “Damien: Omen II” is considered the lesser of the trilogy, and while it has its problem it’s a generally entertaining and creepy thriller. It just can sadly never get over one hurdle: How did Damien forget he was the anti-christ?

In “The Omen” it became very clear from the get go that Damien knew his purpose. He was a devious and often creepy child, and seemed to revel in the sacrifice his nanny made for him during his birthday party. He even smiles when his new nanny confesses her purpose to protect him, and proceeds to murder his mother. The film ends on the scene of Damien smiling wickedly. So what happened in those seven years? Why did Damien suddenly forget his purpose and his mission? The sudden memory loss feels so tacked on as a means of implementing drama that it is so distracting to the overall narrative.

Even when Damien is told by the second half that he is the anti-Christ and is going to take over the world, he struggles with it slightly and then reverts to full on evil monster mold, murdering those that would dare stand in his way. The sequel chronicles Damien’s rise to power in his military school, and how he’s able to display his innate ability to adapt and conquer his surroundings, making him the perfect villain. Meanwhile, he bonds with his older cousin who sees him as a brother, and the two have to decide in the end where they stand in the battle of good and evil. William Holden is a very good successor to Gregory Peck who learns of the mythical daggers after an expedition turns them up.

Being a curator for a museum, he comes across the information thanks to confidants trying to convince him of Damien’s nefarious purposes, and he gets more than be bargained for as he delves deeper not only in to the origin of Damien, but the purposes of the daggers that can mean the end of Damien’s rise to power. Lance Henriksen has a great supporting role as a military school major who tests Damien’s aptitude and powers and also may have his own purpose in this ensuing war, that is left otherwise enigmatic. Jonathan Scott-Taylor is given the heavy task of not only playing a conflicted and tormented Damien, but has to also act alongside William Holden and pulls off a solid job, for the most part. While “Damien: The Omen II” doesn’t particularly hold a candle to the original, it works as a dread soaked dramatic thriller that succeeds in progressing the narrative well.