After the HUGE box office success of The Omen in 1976, it was inevitable we would see the sequel. Thankfully for us, the studio and the filmmakers threw some serious money and acting talent at DAMIEN OMEN II and created an exciting and suspenseful next chapter.
Damien is now 13 years old and living with his Uncle Richard (William Holden) and Richard's wife Ann (Lee Grant).
Damien is close to Richard and Ann's son, Mark, and the two attend the same military academy.
Damien is unaware of his powers, but is beginning to inspire fear in others, including his Aunt Marion (the superb Sylvia Sydney) who becomes the first in the film to suffer one of those patented "Omen death scenes".
The first film brought us a hanging, an impalement, a beheading and Lee Remick's long race against that fish tank to a wooden floor. The sequel doesn't disappoint in the mysterious fatality department, leveraging everything from semi-trucks to elevators as lethal weapons.
The writers honor the first film and don't dumb down the story or the prophecy of the original, while bringing in a whole new cast of folks that are there to protect the budding antichrist.
Special kudos to the clever and spooky storyline with our archeologist Bugenhagen (Leo McKern) uncovering an ancient wall with paintings of the antichrist at every age of his life. McKern delivers real horror in the opening sequence around the image. It turns out to be pretty damning evidence for Damien at great cost to those around him.
Great photography by Bill Butler (Jaws), music by Jerry Goldsmith building off his Oscar winning score for the original and direction by Don Taylor (Escape from the Planet of the Apes).
Fun scares and nice suspense abound, with occasional bouts of bloody terror, doused in that cherry red fake blood that its hard to believe we ever found scary!
A classy sequel to an all-time horror classic, DAMIEN gets a 666, oh, I mean a B+.
Followed three years later in 1981 by the final original chapter, "The Final Conflict".