Omen IV: The Awakening
|Omen IV: The Awakening|
by David Seltzer
|Music by||Jonathan Sheffer|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Executive producer||Mace Neufeld|
|Running time||97 minutes|
|Production companies||FNM Films|
Harvey Bernhard Productions
Mace Neufeld Productions
|Distributor||20th Century Fox|
|Original release||May 20, 1991|
|Preceded by||Omen III: The Final Conflict|
Omen IV: The Awakening is a 1991 Canadian made-for-television supernatural horror film. It is the fourth installment in The Omen series and the final installment of the original series. It was directed by Jorge Montesi and Dominique Othenin-Girard, and starring Faye Grant, Michael Woods, Michael Lerner, and Asia Vieira. Its plot follows two attorneys who adopt a young girl, unaware of the fact that she is to possibly succeed Damien Thorn as the Antichrist.
The film was intended to be the first of many television sequels to 20th Century Fox's film history of popular titles. Producer Harvey Bernhard, who produced the last three films, felt there could be more done to the series. This was the last film he produced. He previously wrote the story for the second film but this is the only film that he co-wrote.
Omen IV: The Awakening premiered on television in North America on May 20, 1991. The film was given a theatrical release in some countries, such as Australia, where it premiered on August 9, 1991, and in the United Kingdom, where it opened on November 29, 1991. It was largely panned by critics upon release.
Virginia congressman Gene York (Michael Woods) and his attorney wife Karen (Faye Grant), after numerous failed attempts to have children, go to a nun-owned orphanage where they adopt a child that they name Delia from a nun named Sister Yvonne (Megan Leitch).
At first, other than Delia scratching Karen and the later heart attack of the preacher overseeing her baptism, all seems normal. But seven years later, after the Yorks adopt a rottweiler that they name Ryder, Delia (Asia Vieira) starts to display the traits and personality of an increasingly violent and manipulative sociopath. Furthermore, as the family doctor, Dr. Hastings (Madison Mason) reveals that she is going through puberty, strange events begin to occur around Delia, including the death of the father of a boy whom she terrorized. Jo Thueson (Ann Hearn), a New Age practitioner hired by the Yorks as a nanny to help while Gene runs for the Senate, senses something suspicious about Delia after finding her healing crystals blackened by the girl's touch.
At the advice of her friend, an aura reader named Noah (Jim Byrnes), Jo takes Delia to a fair, where all psychics present sense a feeling of unease brought on by the girl's presence. Jo manages to get Noah to take an Aura photograph of Delia before she storms off. But as Noah sees her photograph showing very dark colors, Delia causes a fire that sets the entire fairground ablaze. Though Noah warns her to leave after showing her the photo, Jo attempts to find out why her young charge is so full of negative energy. It is during this investigation that Jo learns of Delia's true identity, but before she can share this information with anyone she is sent plummeting out of a window by Ryder. Karen, who witnesses the fall, faints from shock and is taken to the hospital, where she learns that she is pregnant.
Becoming increasingly alarmed and suspicious of her adoptive daughter, Karen turns to her preacher, Father James Mattson (Duncan Fraser), for help in understanding what Jo learned of Delia, and is told of the Antichrist. Eight months later, after learning that Sister Yvonne mysteriously left the orphanage when she and Gene adopted Delia, Karen hires detective Earl Knight (Michael Lerner) to find Delia's biological parents. Knight's search takes him to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Sister Yvonne now goes by the name Felicity. He finds her taking part in a bizarre religious ceremony during which Felicity stands in a circle surrounded by rattlesnakes. Earl shows Felicity a recent photograph of Delia, and unintentionally causes her to suffer an envenomation overdose during a snake handling ritual. After speaking to her before she dies, Knight finds clippings in Felicity's trailer relating to Gene. Unable to return to Virginia, Knight sends Karen a letter of his findings in the mail prior to being killed in a bizarre construction accident. Before his death, he saw with his own eyes what it would look like if the Antichrist won and established the "Kingdom of Perdition".
By this time, with her paranoia worsening, Karen has given birth to her son, Alexander, and is eventually able to leave the hospital and return home to meet the new nanny, Lisa Roselli (Andrea Mann). Growing increasingly distrustful of Delia around Alexander while learning of Yvonne and Knight's deaths, Karen receives the latter's letter that details Damien Thorn and reveals that Dr. Hastings is a Satanic disciple. Confronting Hastings for answers, Karen learns that Delia is actually Damien's daughter and that she is the protector of the new Antichrist: her twin brother, Alexander, whose embryo was carried inside Delia before being implanted into Karen by Hastings. Karen kills Hastings with a scalpel before returning home armed with his gun, where she kills Roselli, also a Satanic disciple, only to find Delia waiting for her, holding Alexander and drawing Karen's attention to the 666 symbol, clearly displayed on the palm of her brother's hand. Influenced by the baby's power, Karen ends up taking her own life. Afterwards, Gene, Delia, and Alexander attend her funeral.
- Faye Grant as Karen York
- Michael Woods as Gene York
- Asia Vieira as Delia York
- Brianne Harrett as Delia York (3 years old)
- Rebecca Cynader as Delia York (2 years old)
- Shelby Adams as Delia York (baby)
- Michael Lerner as Earl Knight
- Madison Mason as Dr. Alice Hastings
- Ann Hearn as Jo Thueson
- Jim Byrnes as Noah
- Don S. Davis as Jake Madison
- Megan Leitch as Sister Yvonne / Felicity
- Joy Coghill as Sister Francesca
- Cydney McPherson as Alexander York
- David Cameron as Father Hayes
- Duncan Fraser as Father Mattson
- Susan Chapple as Mother Superior
- Dana Still as Revival Preacher
- Andrea Mann as Miss Lisa Roselli
- Camille Mitchell as Madge Milligan
- Brenda Crichlow as Hildy Riggs
- William S. Taylor as Forrest Riggs
- Serge Houde as Morris Creighton
- Wendy Van Riesen as Lily Creighton
- James Sherry as Jerome
- Mikal Dughi as Miss Elsa Norris
The score was composed by Jonathan Sheffer, who wrote original music and referenced themes written by Jerry Goldsmith for the previous films.
The film had its first North American television airing on May 20, 1991. The film received a theatrical release in some countries, such as Australia, where it opened on August 9, 1991. In the United Kingdom, the film debuted theatrically at the 14th Tyneside International Film Festival on October 12, 1991. It was subsequently given a general theatrical release in the United Kingdom beginning November 29, 1991.
The movie received an overwhelmingly negative reception from critics. As of 2020[update], on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 2.6/10.
The Los Angeles Times's Chris Willman panned the film, writing: "The direction, credited to Jorge Montesi and Dominique Othenin-Girard--with "action sequences" by producer Harvey Bernhard—is as witless, visually dull and slow-moving as Brian Taggert's sub-pedestrian script would demand." Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly awarded the film a D+ rating, deeming it "just plain ridiculous... The most interesting detail about Omen IV is that its real heroes — the people who try to help the parents to control their daughter — are a gaggle of New Age psychics who wear "healing crystals" around their necks and say things like "Oh, there's nothing strange about metaphysics and New Thought; it's very positive.""
Lee Bacchus of The Province likened the film to "more camp than [a] classic horror tale," noting that the film "never takes itself too seriously." The Sydney Morning Herald noted that the film "obliterates any lingering traces of glamour left by its three successful sequels. It's hard to believe that anyone could reduce the usually reliable entertainment factors of demons among us and world apocalypse to snooze level but this does it." The Guardian's Derek Malcolm likened the film to a "cheapjack semi-remake of the original."
The film was released for the first time on DVD on September 4, 2001 through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment as part of a four-film DVD collection featuring the previous two sequels and the 1976 original film. The film had its first Blu-ray release through Scream Factory on October 15, 2019 as part of a "Deluxe Edition" box set featuring the original film, its three sequels, and the 2006 remake.
- "Omen IV: The Awakening". Microsoft. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
- "Omen IV – The Awakening". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on March 12, 2020.
- Broeske, Pat H. (November 4, 1990). "Here We Go Again". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on March 12, 2020.
- Bacchus, Lee (May 19, 1991). "Only the script is very scary". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia. p. 79 – via Newspapers.com.
- Willman, Chris (May 22, 1991). "TV Reviews : 'Omen IV': The Devil Is Back, Doing His Thing". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "Omen IV: The Awakening—Now Showing!". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, New South Wales. August 9, 1991. p. 12s – via Newspapers.com.
- "14th Tyneside International Film Festival". The Guardian. London. October 12, 1991. p. 72 – via Newspapers.com.
- Malcolm, Derek (November 28, 1991). "The trail blazer". The Guardian. London, England. p. 28 – via Newspapers.com.
- Newman, Kim. "Empire's Omen IV: The Awakening Movie Review". Empire. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- "Omen IV - The Awakening (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- Tucker, Ken (May 17, 1991). "Omen IV: The Awakening Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- "Bad Omen for demon watchers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, New South Wales. August 18, 1991. p. 101 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gross, G. Noel (October 15, 2000). "Omen IV: The Awakening". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
- Harrison, William (November 27, 2019). "The Omen Collection: Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on March 12, 2020.