Home Movie Reviews ‘The First Omen’ – Review
‘The First Omen’ – Review

‘The First Omen’ – Review


The horrors of the devil come face-to-face with audiences in The First Omen, making for an utterly frightful experience that gets under your skin in the gnarliest way possible.

A young American novice nun (Nell Tiger Free) is sent to work at a church in Rome who uncovers a sinister conspiracy to bring about the birth of the Antichrist.

Director Arkasha Stevenson, a first-rate television director who is making her debut with this fresh and creepy horror picture, is responsible for resurrecting The Omen for a new audience in a new era. Stevenson delivers the horror in full force. Stevenson brings a uniquely female perspective to the horror genre, making a unique and nuanced horror experience. Her experience and life as a woman inform the equal measure of emotion and dread that the film’s central character, Margaret Daino, a novice nun sent to Rome to take the veil at the Vizzardeli Orphanage, and the horrors unravel before her; we feel them in my opinion thanks to Stevenson’s perspective. She is also very aware of the legacy of the original film and has worked to deliberately deliver a fresh approach to this picture that completely takes audiences by surprise and leads to a truly malignant and horrifying film experience.

Coming face to face with the Antichrist in The First Omen is a rising star Nell Tiger Free, who has built a cult-following thanks to her performance in Apple TV’s creepy The Servant and who now ascends to full-on Scream Queen royalty thanks to her performance as Margaret Daino in The First Omen. Free separates herself entirely from the performance, and you only see the presence of Margaret and the baying horrors that she soon has to witness in the film. She moves from a nieve young woman to waking up to the horrors in front of her eyes, and her performance carries a realness that gets at you.

The First Omen is a film with a definite creep factor, and its horror is the more thrilling and eviscerating through its construction, where the sexual, the satanic and the sinful all merge into one. The First Omen aligns with the ‘body horror’ genre, making for sickening and truly evil moments. Whereas the original 1976 Omen film was a pretty standard gothic horror, The First Omen embraces this initial gothic overtone and then delivers a shocking stab of female body horror, where the miracle of birth and life takes a dramatically darker turn. Director Arkasha Stevenson is unafraid to push the envelope with this picture, and you won’t be able to hide away from the horrors that reach out from the abyss.

Much of the tension is delivered through its superb use of ambience and atmosphere, and Stevenson, alongside cinematographer Aaron Morton and composer Mark Korven, is extremely meticulous in the horror they deliver to the screen. Both image and sound, whether it is effects, music, or in one excruciating scene early in the third act, the absence of it, adds texture to the horror that audiences witness, and there’s no possibility to shield yourself from the fright that awaits. Production design and costume also into the fold into the gothic appearance of the piece, with the use of real locations in Rome adding texture to the production, while Academy Award-nominated costume designer Paco Delgado brings a sense of 1970s elegance and allure to the wardrobe that sets it off, and hints at something darker unfolding beneath the surface.

The First Omen is undoubtedly one of the best horror movies of the year and features two exceptional talents: director Arkasha Stevenson and lead actress Nell Tiger Free. It offers a unique take on a well-established franchise, making it a fresh and terrifying experience for viewers. In every aspect, this movie is truly chilling and worth watching.

Image: 20th Century Studios