Saturday, June 18, 2016
Recent Watches: Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)
Harvey Bernhard’s undying devotion to “The Omen” series, he made sure the devil child saga was the first series selected for this treatment. And the primary antagonist being dead wasn’t going to stop him either. “Omen IV: The Awakening” premiered on Fox on May 20, 1991. The sequel failed to revive the series and prematurely ended Fox’s plans for film-based TV movies.
Ignoring the Second Coming of Christ at the end of “The Final Conflict,” “The Awakening” instead follows the original series in broad strokes. Virginian congressman Gene Park and his wife Karen are unable to conceive. They adopt an infant girl, which they name Delia. Years later, as Gene builds towards a presidential campaign, Karen begins to worry that there’s something wrong with Delia. The girl acts coldy and cruelly, has no friends, and frightens animals. Soon, strange deaths begin to follow the girl. After Karen becomes pregnant, she becomes increasingly disturbed by Delia’s behavior. Further investigation leads Karen to believe that her adopted daughter may be the off-spring of Damien Thorn, a second generation Antichrist.
the inverted cross isn’t a Satanic symbol at all.) The musical score is also seriously overdone, every moment emphasized with obnoxious stings and uninspired themes. “Ave Satani” is surprisingly only used three times, Jonathan Sheffer’s generic and cartoonish score doing the heavy lifting.
“The Awakening’s” attempts to update “The Omen” for the early nineties is also hilariously awkward. Delia’s nanny, Jo, is into all kinds of New Age bullshit. She wears a crystal around her neck, rambling on about its purity and positive energy. This enrages Delia, causing all of Jo’s crystal to turn black. Her friend Noah, played by Jim Byrnes and his awesome mullet, claims he can see energy fields and gets some serious bad vibes from Delia. Later, the nanny drags the little girl to a “psychic fair,” where Delia has her aura photographed. The black, squiggly lines floating around Delia in her Polaroid is enough to confirm Jo’s suspicion. I’m not sure why screenwriter Brian Taggert felt the need to incorporate hokum and pseudoscience like this into the already ridiculous “Omen” mythology. Would the ominous warnings of crazed priest be too tame by 1991 standards?
Further sinking “Omen IV” is a set of awful performances. Faye Grant stars as Karen. Grant’s performance is always pitched a little pass believable. As the story progresses, and her character becomes more upset, Grant’s acting gets more and more silly. The scene that flatly explains Delia’s connection to Damien in great detail is especially goofy, Grant acting with all the subtly of Miss Piggy. Asia Vieira plays Delia. Vieira’s key to acting evil is to stare ahead blankly and declare mildly sinister statements in a blank monotone. Ann Hearn as Jo the nanny is incredibly irritating. Really, the only memorable performance in the movie is Michael Lerner as the private detective that slowly uncovers the Satanic connection. Lerner is the kind of character that can spin shit into gold. He huffs and puffs as the sleazy P.I., acting absurdly but in a way that’s enjoyable, rather then laughable.