TV Review: “Damien” – Hell No

Written by Danielle Sing April 11, 2016


I’m going to be honest, I’m not a big fan of horror. I’m too easily frightened and very squeamish, but I believe those traits make me qualified to critique “Damien”, A&E’s television sequel to the 1976 film “The Omen”. I don’t feel frightened at all while watching this show. “Damien” is a horror show lacking horror and a lot of qualities that makes any television good. The writing is lazy, the repeated use of flashbacks patronizes the audience, and there are too many plot points left in the dark that it cannot even be called suspenseful. There are very few redeeming factors, but they don’t save “Damien” from being a letdown as both a series and a sequel to the horror classic.

Damien Thorn (Bradley James) celebrates his 30th birthday while on assignment as a war photographer in Damascus, Syria with his friend, Amani (Omid Abtahi), and his ex-girlfriend, Kelly (Tiffany Hines). An old Syrian woman confronts Damien, revealing the strange events of his childhood. The three get deported back to New York City and Damien becomes obsessive over his resurfaced memories. Kelly tries to give Damien clarity through religion but Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) tells him that he’s the Antichrist. Ann promises do anything to protect Damien and ensure that he becomes the Antichrist, including killing those close him.


With A&E’s bone-chilling “Bates Motel” series, the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho”, it’s understandable that they would try their hand at another horror classic. Unfortunately, the series assumes the audience hasn’t seen the original film and the constant repetition of the same flashbacks patronizes the audience. There’s only so many times you can see a woman commit suicide at a child’s birthday party. Avoiding elaborating on these flashbacks/memories feels like lazy writing. “Damien” also lacks some serious horror. Without suspense to build tension and outrageous deaths that take one out of “Final Destination’s” playbook, not a single hair raises. I’ve experienced more horror stubbing my toe than from watching “Damien”. The only horror that’s somewhat successful is the gore. There are situations that just make you cringe, but even that is half-assed as it is not all shown on the screen. As if too much gore is too intense for a show about the Antichrist.

“You expect me to believe there’s really a God and really a devil and I’m on the wrong side? Bullshit.”

“Damien” embodies the classic theme of fate versus free will. Damien has been told of his fate as the Antichrist, but he still tries to be morally good. At first, Kelly seems to be a symbol of hope and love for Damien, but her death provides a difficult predicament. In terms of writing, it’s a poor choice to kill a female character only to motivate the male protagonist, but it also symbolizes that there really is no hope for Damien and that the ‘love’ wouldn’t be able conquer his predicted evil. There are many people, such as Ann, organizations, and the church, who are trying to both prevent Damien and have Damien succeed in becoming the Antichrist. This battles the theme of the show as fate seems to be controlled by people and not a higher being as the heavy religious presence of the show suggests. Also, these organizations leave their motives so in dark, from the perspective of the audience, about why they’re trying to alter Damien’s fate that is removes all suspense and it becomes confusion. Again, this is due to lazy writing. Leaving details out of show creates suspense, but removing entire plot points is laziness not suspense.Though I will praise the decision to make Damien a war photographer because as he combats the evilness fated for him, it could be simply seen as PTSD by other characters.


Overall, “Damien” suffers ultimately from lazy writing and a lack of horror. Though several actors in this series are fantastic, with Barbara Hershey and Bradley James stealing the show, their acting can’t do much to make the show watchable. There are a few redeeming qualities such as the gore, the classic theme of fate versus free will, and the excellent decision to make Damien a war photographer. It’s just best that we forget about “Damien”, just like most people did with rest of the “The Omen” film sequels and remake.

My Rating: 4/10


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