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78 Mountjoy Parade
Lorne, Victoria

The First Omen


“It's all for you.”

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If you’ve seen the original 1976 horror classic The Omen, you might think you know about the origins of little diabolical Damien, but The First Omen is here to fill in all the devilish details. Margaret (Nell Tiger Free, Servant) is a young American woman sent to Rome in 1971 to work at an orphanage before she takes her final vows to become a nun. She encounters a city beset by political unrest – workers protesting poor conditions, and students rejecting authorities they’ve lost faith in, including the church. At the orphanage, Margaret takes a particular shine to a quiet young girl, Carlita (Nicole Sorace), but their bond unsettles the elders: strict Sister Silva (Sônia Braga, Aquarius), Margaret’s mentor Cardinal Lawrence (Bill Nighy, Living) and rogue priest Father Brennan (Ralph Ineson, The Witch).

“A vicious, blood-slicked, coiled-up, oddly beautiful expulsion of horror, rooted in a distinctly Catholic expression of sexual turmoil.”

The Independent UK

“Arkasha Stevenson deosn't just helm a prequel worthy of Richard Donner's classic but establishes herself as a bold new voice in horror.”

Bloody Disgusting

“A first-rate paranoid thriller with a vintage tinge à la Rosemary's Baby.”


Why You Should See This Film

With its earthy tones, satanic symbolism and dread-inducing scares, The First Omen brings back the spirit and style of ’70s horror. This is an impressive feature film debut from director Arkasha Stevenson, who cut her teeth directing episodes of TV series like Legion and Channel Zero. Stevenson and her co-writers Tim Smith and Keith Thomas have clearly taken care to consider how this story is connected to Richard Donner’s original film, but it also engages with themes of bodily autonomy and institutional control – scarily relevant in today’s cultural milieu.

Arkasha Stevenson
Nell Tiger Free, Ralph Ineson, Sônia Braga, Bill Nighy
119 minutes

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