The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

It’s the ending that makes The Omen memorable

with 9 comments

When a movie approaches the end I’m always holding my breath. Will it break it or make it?

I’m such a sucker for good movie endings. And with “good” I don’t mean “happy”. I’m perfectly fine with movies that end in ambiguous or even dark and miserable way, or I even prefer them. They often resonate as more honest and believable than some cheesy, too-eager-to-please fantasy where everything eventually turns out to the best.

Happiness is overrated as long as it comes to movies. What I want from an ending is that it stays true to the story and that it’s properly paced, with a distinct idea and final beat, like in a classical symphony.  Above all it should be memorable.

I believe the ending is so important that it can change my entire appreciation of a movie. It doesn’t matter how good your movie is if you drop the ball towards the end. It’s the ball drop that will stay with me. And equally a movie that was a bit underwhelming can be saved to a higher rating if the finish is perfect.

Watching The Omen
Recently I watched The Omen for the first time in my life, for no particular reason apart from that we had it in a shelf and it seemed like a movie I should have seen.

I have to admit that I wasn’t as sold on the film as I watched it as I maybe should have been, considering it’s regarded as one of the horror classics. I just didn’t get as scared as I had expected.

One reason for this is probably the circumstances around my watching. Horror and comedy are best watched in company with others in a theatre, where you can feed on each other’s laughter or cries of fear. Watching it on a small screen at home, taking little breaks now and then to go and grab some coffee or answer a phone call makes it a lot less immersive.

Another reason was that I don’t automatically freak out because someone in a movie is supposed to be The Devil himself. The sadistic officer in Pan’s Labyrinth is far scarier than any demon you could imagine. Not to speak of the compulsive mentioning of the number 666, in my view just a number, carrying no more meaning than 182 or 789.

The final shot
It would have been a pretty average horror film, well made, but not all that memorable in my view, if it wasn’t for the last few minutes, culminating in the final shot. We see someone turning around, giving a look into the camera and then smiling, ever so briefly.

Finally I could let go of my skepticism. I shivered. As you should when you’re watching horror movies. It had been a long wait, but when I finally got there, it was worth it.

The Omen (Richard Donner, UK, 1976) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

October 10, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in The Omen

9 Responses

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  1. I’m not really a fan of The Omen Jessica. I’ve always found it overrated but I couldn’t agree more on how a film should end. I’m not a melancholic or depressing guy (at least I don’t think so) but I like my endings downbeat and realistic as you say. I can’t go endings were people drive off into the sunset. They have their place but very rarely satisfy.

    Mark Walker

    October 10, 2012 at 1:50 am

    • I like the bright endings once in a while, but when a movie goes out in its way and it gets overwhelmingly sweet and bubbly and pink, I’m lost most of the time. I guess my favorite mood for an ending is bitter-sweetness. Or sweet bitterness. Somewhat dark with strokes of light or somewhat light with hints of darkness.

      Jessica

      October 10, 2012 at 7:32 am

  2. Great review as always Jessica. I have to mention that the little boy who is featured in the new scifi film Looper is nearly the twin of the boy in The Omen. I kept wondering if I had seen the boy before, but it was obvious as the credits ran I had not. I am now certain my memory was touched and I was remembering Damien from The Omen. So cool that you would review the film several days after I saw the other. Give me a moment to pause and wonder. 🙂

    Vicki Love

    October 10, 2012 at 1:51 am

    • Thanks Vicki! I watched Looper recently too and I don’t think the simularity is a coincidence. Actually between the two of them I preferred the new version a little more. While the ending of The Omen was excellent, I thought there was something a little bit lifeless about the child actor in The Omen, while the one in Looper was “there” ever single second.

      Jessica

      October 10, 2012 at 7:30 am

  3. Fantastic post, Jessica. Glad you finally caught up with this one. It’s my favorite horror movie and yes, the ending is perfect.

    fernandorafael

    October 10, 2012 at 4:50 am

    • Thanks Fernando! As you see, it’s not my favorite horror movie, but the ending definitely bumped it up to a new level to me.

      Jessica

      October 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

  4. Yeah, I don’t mind a bitter-sweet ending but I’d tend to lean more to the bitter. I love those endings like Se7en, Memento or The Usual Suspects where it’s really packs a punch and leaves you winded.

    Mark Walker

    October 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

  5. I was on the lookout for a good Halloween movie. This one fits the bill, haven’t seen it yet.

    carrandas

    October 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm


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