Saturday, October 22, 2022

H22 #21: Omen III: The Final Conflict

The concluding chapter to the Omen trilogy is built on the tantalizing premise of Damien becoming a nefarious player in world politics. There's potential for an epic story here but the film gets bogged down in the complexities of a half-baked plot involving a team of Italian assassins, astronomical predictions, prophecy, and many other narrative dead ends. 

A young Sam Neill takes on the role of Damian, a wealthy industrialist and youth influencer with an eye on politics. Neill plays Damien as smooth and charming, even a bit dull at times. Fully intent on a master plan for world domination, he's developed a secret following of people willing to carry out his diabolical designs. The how or why of this movement is never really explained. It was interesting how he fashioned his message to young people, fancying himself as an anti-establishment rebel like some wealthy white men today. 

The crux of the plot hinges on Damien's obsession with the second coming of Christ which he believes will happen on March 24. He orders all babies born on that day be killed by his followers in a disturbing sequence. The climax involves a scene one might imagine in apocalyptic books like the Left Behind series. Christian eschatology barely interests me except for research purposes, but millions still believe it.

Despite the myriad inconsistencies of the script*, The Final Conflict does sustain a grim early '80s atmosphere, effectively using locations throughout England and achieves some frightening moments. It's never clear if the film wants to be a political or supernatural thriller. A planned sequel entitled Armageddon was never made. If there were a part of the Omen saga ripe for a remake, following Damien as an adult in the 21st Century would have great potential, especially when considering the current state of world politics.

*The film is set in the 1980s, even though the previous films were clearly set in the 1970s when Damien was a child, so technically the film should've been set around the year 2000.

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