The Chosen (1978)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Italy   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This Italian riff on The Omen won't get points for originality but offers some creepy fun for fans of Euro-horror. The script is built on a mixture of biblical prophecy and creative death setpieces that apes its model in a pretty obvious style but it also throws in offbeat elements to keep things interesting, like the additions of political/corporate intrigue and the way the storyline cleverly plays on unspoken fears of nuclear energy and unrest in the Middle East. The end result is as much a soap opera and a conspiracy thriller as it is a horror film and this multi-genre aspect adds to the fun of watching it. The Chosen also benefits from an old-fashioned star performance by Kirk Douglas, who digs into the script with total conviction and never condescends to the material. His star turn is supported nicely by a deftly underplayed performance from Simon Ward as his mysterious son. The Chosen is also confidently directed by Alberto De Martino, who gives the film a glossy touch during the non-horror moments but brings plenty of verve to the shocks: his best moment is a nightmare sequence in which Douglas hallucinates the nuclear plant he is working on rising from the sea and transforming into a multi-headed hydra. In short, The Chosen might be a knockoff but it's a knockoff of the best kind -- one with energy, style and a few bizarre ideas of its own. As a result, it's worth a look to the Euro-cult audience.