Swedish

torsdag 4 april 2024

• Review

Eddie Gustafsson

'THE FIRST OMEN' | REVIEW

“A haunting revival that ends up lacking nuance." 

Let’s get straight into the scares. 20th Centuries’ ‘THE FIRST OMEN’ directed by Arkasha Stevenson is here, we have seen it, and you are about to read our reviewers thoughts on the film.

Featuring an exceptional performance from lead actress Nell Tiger Free (MARGARET), this film is nothing you should let swiftly pass over your head. The movie has guts, I’ll give it that. A mostly well written story with the inclusion of some grotesque horror elements, what more could you ask for in a horror flick?

Image courtesy of Disney. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Well, nuance and ‘a fresh breath of air’ would be happily appreciated. The film is, from my perspective, just another ‘Nun vs Devil’ film. The story largely revolves around a Nun (MARGARET) who moves to Italy (Rome) to take her vows. But before that can happen some scary orphan-children has to be taken care of and then some devilish visions are also in the play. Which then leads to some horrific scenes and reveals… We all know what happens after that. The story is nothing new, while the third act is quite entertaining and ups the incline quite a bit. The story overall is too ordinary for my taste. Sure, there are some twists, but they were surprisingly easy to see coming, I would not go as far as saying the story is bad, it’s just nothing new. It’s well written, but still fails to have my curiosity in the loop for its entire two-hour runtime. 

During these two-hours we are treated to some solid acting from various actors/actresses. Of-course mainly an emotional and expressive Nell Tiger Free, but I also think that Ralph Ineson (FATHER BRENNAN) and Maria Caballero (LUZ) does a great job in terms of their characters. The acting is indeed one highlight of the film.

Image courtesy of Disney. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“Nell Tiger Free is hungry for Hollywood, and it shows." 

‘THE FIRST OMEN’ has some beautiful visuals, but they are rare, and the film mostly feels just acceptable visually. The opening act is more talk than do, and it is actually quite boring. The ending of the films is much better, and the third act overall works a lot better for me. It is much higher stakes and is filled with more horror elements. It is primarily in the second-to-third act when the film really starts to feel like a horror movie.

There aren’t too many jump scares in the film. I can think of maybe one that was a bit inventive and scary in terms of visuals & sound. Some might enjoy a more character driven horror film. But I think that having at least some solid suspenseful jump scares is an essential part of the horror genre. Seeing this film lacking any adrenaline inducing jump scares made me somewhat disappointed. The visuals at times are horrific, but it’s the act of surprise that is truly missing from this film.

Image courtesy of Disney. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Moreover, the score of the film was quite atmospheric and tense. I usually say that some scary sounds can do a more cost-effective job when compared to some mediocre horror-visuals. Now it was not the scariest score around, but I think it got the job done for the film. The same goes for the VFX and practical effects, it got the job done. I cannot really speak to much on what was practical in contrast to CGI. But I think there was some frightening visuals at hand.

“It's gory, only after being a slightly frightening drama for too long.”

The story turned out to be more twisted in the end than I initially expected it to be. But my big problem was that it took too long to get there. I would have liked the third acts energy to be present throughout the whole film. I wanted this film to shock me, and while it succeeded with it in the end. The road to get there, was not too scary.

Image courtesy of Disney. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

In terms of sets & environments, well they were just acceptable. The classic orphanage was present, one or two churches and some scary backrooms. It was in final scene that the environment got a bit exciting, but that scene was gone quicker than a killer ‘nun could materialize. I want a horror flick that shocks and hits different, these ‘nun vs devil’ films are all blending together by now.

This is nonetheless the best we have gotten from Nell Tiger Free, as of yet. With a solid score and a gruesome concept, ‘THE FIRST OMEN’ is a film that should work, but really doesn’t. The film ends up quite bland in the end. A lack of nuance and fresh ideas are to blame if you ask me. Not even a gory third act can make up for weaker initial two-thirds of the film. We therefore give ‘THE FIRST OMEN’ a rating of:

BETYG:2,5 / 5

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The Movie Clubhouse is the best place to be if you love movies & TV!

©2024 The Movie Clubhouse™