I usually go into these demon/ghost/monster thriller movies fully prepared to be disappointed at the lack of full-on terror and creepiness. Thankfully The Omen, while not the scariest movie I've ever seen, definitely delivered on creep factor and tension, as well as the occasional "fling-your-candy-across-the-room-in-shock" moments. For a remake in particular, it's pretty good.
The story opens in the Vatican, where the clergy are momentarily diverted from condemning "The Da Vinci Code" by the sudden appearance of a comet over Rome. Surely this astronomical phenomenon can best be explained as being caused by the birth of Satan incarnate, so the bishops convene for a power point presentation on the apocalypse and discuss what is to be done about this unsettling turn of events--which is apparently nothing at all. No seriously, Satan has literally begun his attack on the world, but the Vatican cannot be bothered with such trivialities as sending a few reinforcements out to investigate and lend a helping hand--there are still blasphemous books to attend to.
Elsewhere in Rome, the spawn of Satan has indeed been born, coincidentally on the same night as a U.S. Ambassador's son. Unfortunately for the Ambassador, Robert Thorn (Live Schreiber), his son supposedly did not survive the complications during birth, so the hospital staff decides that the best option would be to convince Thorn to instead swap for Damien (aka the spawn of Satan). I don't blame them, really. I would try to pawn that thing off on the first person I could find too. So they do.
Apparently everything goes well for a few years until Damien reaches age 6 or so, at which time he decides it's about time he got on with destroying mankind. Somehow the Thorns have not seen any horror movies because they completely miss the fact that their kid is quite obviously evil as all get out. I mean take one look at the kid's eyes, the fact that he never speaks, breaks into cold sweats around churches, and oh yeah, can telepathically command dogs to rip people's throats out if anyone comes near him. Seriously, way to have your kid baptized, people. The fate of the world now hangs in the balance and all you really had to do was splash some holy water on the little urchin and save everyone the trouble.
Meanwhile, some crazy random priest shows up to warn Thorn that Damien will destroy the world, and then strongly encourages Thorn to kill his son as a sort of, I don't know, preemptive strike or something. Thorn is strangely reluctant to stab his own son to death, however. You know, if you're going to tell some guy to kill his child, I would venture to say that the best approach would not be to simply blurt out that the kid is the spawn of Satan and that his real mother was a jackal. I'd probably try to ease into that subject a little bit. Maybe sandwich the destruction of the world part with a compliment or two to keep the guy from getting defensive.
I thought this movie was pretty good overall and definitely scary, although it didn't have anything that will necessarily creep me out for several weeks. Thankfully it doesn't completely depend on constantly startling the audience in order to be frightening, as the basic premise of the movie itself seems to be enough to accomplish that. There are plenty of disturbing images and enough tension to freak someone out for a few hours, which is fairly satisfying for a thriller. Worth a look if you're in the mood for something scary.