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5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen

a nun puts her hand on another nun's shoulder in the film The First Omen

The First Omen wears its influences on its sleeve. Here is a list of 5 movies to watch if you liked the legacy prequel, from vintage 70s horror to superhero flicks.

If one paid attention to the marketing of the Arkasha Stevenson-directed The First Omen, you may have seen a trailer called “The 1970s.” The trailer is perfectly vintage, with faded grainy images and a sonorously voiced narrator. It looks like something you would watch not on youtube, but at a drive-in movie theater. The general vibe of the trailer tells us that the studio wants the audience to walk into the movie theater for The First Omen ready and willing to be thrown back to the horror movies of the 1970s. Being the legacy prequel to the influential 1976 horror film The Omen, The First Omen is steeped in the energy and rhythms of classic horror. It’s a movie that wears its influences on its sleeves, and, most interestingly, looks for inspiration in places beyond just the horror franchise of which it is a continuation.

The First Omen begins in 1971, with the arrival of novitiate Margaret Daino (Nell Tiger Free) in Italy to work at a church-run orphanage. Margaret develops a kinship with a mysterious  young charge of the orphanage named Carlita (Nicole Sorace), who is kept separate from the other girls in a small, prison cell-like room. As tragic things happen around the orphanage, Margaret becomes convinced that Carita is at the center of a sinister satanic plot. These events lead directly into 1976’s The Omen. Read Loud and Clear’s review of The First Omen

If you enjoyed The First Omen, the next step should be watching the original Richard Donner-directed The Omen. After that, here are five more personally curated horror films that will hopefully scratch the same bone, so to speak. Read our list of 5 movies to watch if you liked The First Omen!

1. Eye of the Devil (1966)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen – Eye of the Devil (Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)

The wonderful Deborah Kerr stars as Catherine de Montfaucon, a recent transport to the French countryside after her husband (David Niven) is suddenly summoned back to his family’s estate. Things quickly reveal themselves to be sinister, as Catherine hears strange sounds in the night and the local villagers are hostile and secretive. Like The First Omen, Eye of the Devil plays on fears of gaslighting and a woman’s lack of power in a patriarchal system, with a constant feeling in the viewer that conversations are happening just outside of the camera’s range.

2. To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Director: Peter Sykes

A nun sits on an armchair and looks up in To the Devil a Daughter, one of the 5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen according to Loud and Clear Reviews
5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen – To the Devil a Daughter (EMI)

I would not be surprised to learn that the filmmakers of The First Omen took direct inspiration from the Hammer Studios flick To the Devil a Daughter. John Verney (Richard Widmark) is an occult expert tasked with protecting a young nun Catherine (Nastassja Kinski) from the clutches of a satan-worshipping cult led by a defrocked priest (Christopher Lee). A few of the plot points and a great many of themes, such as the response of the Catholic Church to the increasingly secular world of the 1970s, are shared by The First Omen and To the Devil a Daughter. To the Devil a Daughter is a flawed film, but its influence on The First Omen is undeniable, and it’s interesting to consider what elements The First Omen chooses to update and what to pay homage to. 

3. Constantine (2005)

Director: Francis Lawrence 

5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen – Constantine (Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers)

If The First Omen’s plot concerning a conspiracy to bring about the birth of Satan’s son struck your imagination, than 2005’s urban fantasy Constantine should be right in your wheelhouse. Keanu Reeves stars the titular John Constantine, a broody exorcist and paranormal investigator that is trying to buy his way into heaven after a lung cancer diagnosis. He is approached by Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz, of The Lobster), a police detective convinced that her twin sister did not commit suicide, but was instead possessed. As the two investigate, they encounter demons and other preternatural creatures that should not be on earth. The plot is delightfully convoluted, allowing for the audience to get swept up in its world of demons, incantations, ancient tomes, and religious conspiracies. 

4. The Sentinel (1977)

Director: Michael Winner

An old man makes a crazy posed showing his hands in the film The Sentinel
5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen – The Sentinel (Universal Pictures)

If you were attracted to The First Omen’s 70s aesthetic and want to learn more about the horror movies of the time, then I would recommend The Sentinel. In my opinion, The Sentinel is an undervalued, but typical example of the style of the time and a genre still reeling from the success of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. (Two movies that also loom large for The First Omen.)  Like The First Omen, The Sentinel follows a young woman, in this case a young model named Alison Parker (Cristina Raines), who moves to an apartment in a beautiful, but creepy Brooklyn Heights brownstone following personal tragedies. She finds herself surrounded by eccentric neighbors, including a blind priest that never moves from his spot in front of a window, and may have sinister designs on Alison. The movie boasts terrific 70s film grain, a dread-inducing atmosphere and many haunting images. 

5. Possession (1981)

Director: Andrzej Żułaski

A woman turns around with a blood stained mouth, followed by a man, in Possession (1981), one of the 5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen according to Loud and Clear Reviews
5 Movies to Watch if you Liked The First Omen – Possession (1981) (Gaumont)

One of The First Omen’s most blatant pieces of meta reference, besides the 1976 original, may be an homage to the most famous scene from 1981’s Possession. An emotionally violent grand guignol about the horror of a break-up, Possession is oblique and tactile. Sam Neill and isabelle Adjani star as a recently divorced couple living in West Berlin. No plot synopsis could adequately describe Possession, but briefly the movie follows Neill as becomes obsessed with finding out why Adjani left their family. He learns that she may be seeing another man, but whenever he sends someone to check in on Adjani’s apartment they disappear. Like Tiger Free in The First Omen, Adjani’s performance is a theatrical blend of vulnerability and hysteria as we watch the character become more and more unraveled. 

The First Omen is now available to watch globally in theaters.

The First Omen Film Review: Disney’s Immaculate – Loud And Clear
The First Omen has a few technically impressive scenes, but a predictable screenplay and frequent cheap jumpscares hamper its momentum.
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