Damien: Omen II (1978)
Reviewed on 2011 August 10
Interesting but silly continuation of the Damien story, with a mixed bag of things like Jonathan Scott-Taylor’s strong portrayal of a demonic teen (but I repeat myself) weighed down by stuff like the frightening Ave Satanis theme of the first movie sounding here like it was performed by the K-Tel Singers. Hey, it was the ’70s.
Damien is now thirteen or so, and his uncle Richard (William Holden) enrolls him and his cousin Mark (Lucas Donat) in a fancy prep school. Here we see the extent of that Thorn wealth; that Chicago real estate is to die for. He seems to love his adoptive aunt and uncle, and superficially like most other kids. When we first see him, his idea of being wicked is bumming a cigarette from the family driver. Uncle Richard and Aunt Ann (Lee Grant) adore him, but his great aunt Marion (Sylvia Sidney) realizes something is very wrong with Damien and is very vocal about it.
Damien thinks the only thing separating him from the rest of the class is that Thorn money, and an unusual gift for knowing history, but a sergeant (Lance Henriksen) instinctively knows Damien is no ordinary cadet and urges him to accept his birthright. Damien tries to fight it, but he is what he is…
Since they already laid much of the occult groundwork in The Omen, much of the suspense was gone and this was more slasher how-is-this-poor-dude-gonna-get-it stuff. It wasn’t as unsettling as the first movie, but it wasn’t a bad runner-up or a bad entry in a genre saturated with junk. It had a decent script, better acting, and a great performance by Scott-Taylor, who left the acting world to become a lawyer. Watching him here, you can see Damien growing up and joining the fraternity, throwing the political fundraiser and so on.
Two chocolate morsels.