Omen III: The Final Conflict.
The world has fallen into a costly recession, one that has some calling the current international crisis the 'end of days.' People are looking for answers, for a solution. Waiting to give them that answer and leadership is the C.E.O. of an aid company, a huge corporation with footholds all over the world, one Damien Thorn (Sam Neill), now 32 years old and fully embracing his Satanic makeup. When a grisly suicide leaves the position open, Damien is appointed the U.S. ambassador to England, the same position his father held years before. He has plans for his power position but he has fears, signs pointing to the Second Coming of Christ, that could cripple his plans. The timing is essential for those battling on both sides, both good and bad, as a small order of monks from Italy know Damien's true identity and are doing everything in their power to stop him. Who or what will prevail in the end? Good or evil?
Of the trilogy, only the first one is an above average horror flick to the point I'd say it is a classic. Where do the second and third ones fall? They're pretty good...just not as good. From director Graham Baker, 'Final' wraps things up in pretty cool fashion. It switches up the formula some and doesn't depend on gruesome deaths like Omen II did (even though I enjoyed that flick a lot). Again, these aren't the most plot-driven flicks, but I didn't get caught up in that stuff. It's all building, all developing a character, and this time we get a showdown in the finale between good and evil. 'Final' isn't as good as either of its predecessors, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It wraps things up nicely and even left an opening for the series to continue that never developed.
If you believe Wikipedia and its countless information -- and I tend to -- the casting for 32-year old Damien was pretty interesting. How about Jack Nicholson? Gene Hackman? Even Marlon Brando? All three were considered for the part before producers decided to go with a lesser known actor. Enter Sam Neill, 34 years old at the time. This is the natural progression for Damien. Having realized who he truly is in 'Damien II,' he's now actively working toward taking what is his. He's embraced his identity. He is the Antichrist, and he intends to rule the world. We get to see his political pull in a startlingly easy encounter with the President (Mason Adams), his pull on his political staff, and in most frightening fashion, his growing number of apostles and disciples. As I've mentioned before, evil...true, pure evil, can be scarier than any serial killer, murder mystery.
And that's an interesting angle of this sequel. Now, I'm not religious much, but this story fascinated me. Again, it's that BIG concept of good and evil. Add in the Antichrist, the believed Second Coming of Christ, and we've got some interesting stuff going on. Neill's Damien gets to chew the scenery several times as he addresses an immense crucifix (Jesus nailed to the cross backwards) about how he will ultimately defeat him. He calls him the Nazarene as if they were on a first-name basis, his cold, icy and calculating stare -- and what looks like some guy-liner -- adding that sinister edge to the story. This isn't a James Bond villain trying to conquer the world. This is the Prince of Darkness, the Devil, Satan himself. Not too many bigger stakes than that. Oh, and those dagger-wielding monks led by Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi)? Nice touch, another enemy for Damien to deal with, even if they are sort of a bumbling bunch.
The cast is pretty small here for this horror sequel. Along with Neill, look for Don Gordon as Harvey Dean, Damien's personal assistant, fully aware of what his boss is and what he aspires to do in the old evil department. Lisa Harrow plays Kate Reynolds, a respected TV journalist trying to get down to the truth of Damien's background, Barnaby Holm playing her son, Peter, possibly a disciple for Damien.
There's some pretty cool moments along the way. I loved the credits sequence as we discover how the daggers that were supposedly lost in Damien II are discovered and end up where they need to be. The monks' attempts on Damien are tense, and Damien's ultimate plan to stop the second coming is particularly gruesome and more than a little unsettling. And then there's the ending, a great final scene that brings everything full circle. Yeah, there's some giant plot holes, but I liked the execution from beginning to end.
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981): ***/****