Damien---Omen II (1978)

Genres - Horror, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

Although it's a high-concept, big-budget Hollywood outing, Damien: Omen II follows the rules of all watchable horror sequels: the deaths are more frequent, more inventive, and more explicit. That's good, because the film has very little to recommend it in terms of plot; it repeats the structure of its predecessor practically scene for scene. Nevertheless, angel-faced, towheaded Jonathan Scott-Taylor makes an effectively creepy little Satan-in-training; like Eddie Haskell with a 666 birthmark, he alternates between unctuous politesse and precocious depravity. Lee Grant and William Holden are there basically to provide A-list credentials, but old pro Sylvia Sidney and genre perennial Lance Henriksen make strong impressions in small roles. The real stars, of course, are the special effects and the gore, and from a gruesome gloss on The Birds to a deliciously nasty elevator catastrophe, Damien: Omen II delivers in spades. There isn't much in the way of suspense or atmosphere, but the glossy, Grand Guignol production design is pretty to look at, as are several scenes shot on-location in Israel. A step below "pretty good," a step above perfunctory, this is a workmanlike effort elevated by strong production values.