The Final Conflict (1981) – Graham Baker

Sam Neill made his North American film debut with the third installment in The Omen series. This one saw Dick Donner as the film’s exectuive producer, and Jerry Goldsmith delivering hi third score for the series moves away from the chanting to deliver a bit more of a majestical piece.

Damien Thorn (Neill) is now fullgrown, and running Thorn industries, while positioning himself as a growing worldwide power, and expecting to receive an appointment as Ambassador to England for the president. Damien is well aware that he is the antichrist, the son of satan, and is preparing for his eventual rise to power, as long as he can stop the birth of the messiah.

When he learns that the Christ-child may have been born, in a move born of Herod, he works to make sure that all the boy children born that day are summarily executed. He begins a controlling relationship with a female reporter, Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow), and begins the work of seducing her son, Peter (Barnaby Holm) to his cause.

Throughout all people end up dead, one of his own aides who had a child on that day, is tormented by visions that eventually lead to trouble for her and her husband.

Damien shows that not even those who ally with him can trust him completely, but will the messiah arrive and put paid to the devil’s plans? To aid in the plans of the just are a group of priests who have recovered those oh so dangerous daggers, the only thing that can harm Damien, and they are stalking him across the English counryside.

While it doesn’t have the amount of kills that the second film had, it definitely feels more even handed, and Neill, as always, is so much fun to watch.

There’s some playing with the timeline as it’s only been a few years since the series second film, and they all have the clothing of the 70s, so that messes with the viewer a little. Could you imagine three decades of the 70s? That may be actual hell.

For the most part, the film treats the subject matter with respect, going for a character thriller tinged with supernatural elements. Unfortunately, despite the warnings, and build up in the hopes to see some sort of Armageddon begin to play out on the screen, none of that happens, and the climax is very small, isolated and quiet.

I was hoping for something a little more powerful when it came to the film’s conclusion, but I did truly enjoy Neill’s performance as Damien. I loved the score, Goldsmith’s delivery on the second film seemed a little off, whereas this one works wonderfully.

I think a new planned trilogy could work really well, and the 2006 reboot forgotten. Sit down, plan out all three films in one go, so you can develop arcs, and characters, really build up its mythology, and its ties to real world events, and then go!

And definitely get Neill involved with it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s