The Final Conflict (1981)

Director: Graham Baker

Starring: Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Lisa Harrow, Don Gordon

“Your pain on the cross was but a splinter compared to the agony of my father. Cast out of heaven, the fallen angel, banished, reviled. I will drive deeper the thorns into your rancid carcass, you profaner of vices. Cursed Nazarene. Satan, I will avenge thy torment, by destroying the Christ forever.” (Damien, The Final Conflict)

It can’t be denied that Damien Thorn has done well for himself given the circumstances. After being born as the Antichrist and surviving his adopted father’s attempt to murder him in The Omen and later doing the same with his uncle in Omen II, by the start of The Final Conflict the now-adult Damien (Sam Neill) has become CEO of Thorn Industries and the American Ambassador for Great Britain. Not bad for the son of the devil.

"I'm not really the Antichrist. It's just a movie. I did go to Jurassic Park, though"

As you may expect by the film’s title however, shit’s about to go down for Damien, and said faecal matter comes in the form of the Nazarene, the second coming of Christ. Damien figures out that Christ is due to be reborn on 24 March 1982, so he orders one of his disciples to kill all the baby boys born on that date.

Meanwhile, a group of monks have managed to get hold of the seven holy daggers that are to be used to kill the Antichrist, and so they set about trying to kill Damien. In short, things could be going better for D-Tho.

"Yes, my pram's got all the latest features. The only thing it can't survive is car impact but that seems unlikely"

Sam Neill is undoubtedly the star of the show. This is the first Omen movie in which Damien starts fully aware of who he is and what he’s capable of, and at times Neill’s performance is unsettling to say the least. It also helps that his character is a complete prick (it goes with the territory, after all) – he seduces a journalist trying to get close to him, while at the same time turning her young son into one of his disciples and getting him to do errands for him.

Stan realised too late that someone had switched his cocaine with gunpowder

That aside however, The Final Conflict is disappointing. It’s a hell of a slow burner – it’ll be half an hour before anything of note starts to happen – and the scenes clearly intended to be the chilling high points are so sloppily handled that they’re fairly ineffective. A car slamming into a baby’s pram should be a shocking moment, but the film is almost impressive in how dull it manages to make what should be a memorable scene.

Rather than the gripping climax to the Omen series it should be, The Final Conflict is a bit of a damp squib. It’s not a terrible film by any means but it’s so devoid of anything truly gripping or memorable that it’s ultimately a bit of an underwhelming end to an otherwise great trilogy.

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