Margaret looking shocked in the first omen

‘The First Omen’ Finds Its Footing Without Damien

3.5/5 creepy drawings

The franchise The Omen gives us all a fear of the unknown, specifically when it comes to creepy kids. Luckily, The First Omen, from director and co-write Arkasha Stevenson (who wrote the script with Tim Smith and Keith Thomas), gets to live in its own world for the most part.

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The film takes us through the journey of Margaret (Nell Tiger Free), who arrives in Italy to work at an orphanage. Margaret is a novice nun in training and is waiting for her Consecration. She is instantly connected to Carlita (Nicole Sorace), a young girl who has visions and fits of rage that have her isolated from the rest of the children. As Margaret learns more about herself and goes out to dance while she has the chance, she begins to unravel a dark spirit looming over the orphanage.

Like all good stories in the Omen universe, what makes The First Omen special is that bit of unhinged energy that carries the audience through each moment. Did I necessarily need an origin story for how Damien came to be? No. It is pretty straightforward that he is the anti-Christ. But it was nice existing in this universe with a woman at the heart of it and through the lens of a female director.

Damien wouldn’t exist without the pain and suffering of his mother. We wouldn’t have The Omen without abuse inflicted on a character like Margaret, and it’s great to get to explore this story now, when we have the language and the vision to unpack this in a way that isn’t just for shock value but to comment on how women existed within the world and how we still have to navigate life in a different way than the men around us.

Yes, The First Omen has those horror shocks but it is also so much more.

A story about power and the abuse of such

Margaret and Luz dressed to go out in The First Omen
(20th Century Studios)

It is easy to make a scary movie about a woman giving birth to the anti-Christ. It is not easy to do it where that woman still has agency in her own story. What works about The First Omen is that all of Margaret’s naivety comes from her trust in the people around her and in the end, she fights to protect what she manages to keep for herself.

The First Omen is far from perfect with some aspects of this story leaning too far into horror as a genre and not honoring enough of what Margaret is feeling, but even then, it brings it all around by the end of the movie to make you care for the pain she’s been through.

I didn’t need this story; I understood what Damien’s deal was in the original movie, but getting to see Margaret embark on this journey and hold her own when she needed to is a surprisingly refreshing take on this franchise as a whole and makes The First Omen a staple of telling these kinds of stories in the future.

The First Omen hits theaters this April 5.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.