The First Omen Movie Reviews: Critics Share Strong First Reactions

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
The First Omen

20th Century Studios is returning to The Omen franchise with The First Omen, and the first reviews from critics are proving strong.

The horror flick, directed by Arkasha Stevenson, is a prequel to Richard Donner's 1976 classic The Omen, which has since spawned multiple sequels and attempted revivals. 

The First Omen Receives Encouraging Reviews

Nell Tiger Free as Margaret Daino in The First Omen
The First Omen

Select critics screened The First Omen early ahead of its theatrical release on Friday, April 5, and their reviews on social media have been strong.

The First Omen is a "thoughtful and shattering look at sexual assault in the Catholic Church" according to Dread Central editor-in-chief Mary Beth McAndrews, adding how it matches the "tension" of the original movie:

"THE FIRST OMEN stunned me. An incredibly thoughtful and shattering look at sexual assault in the Catholic Church while also providing the tension of the original film. This is the religious horror I’ve been waiting for. Exquisitely repulsive. Also 10/10 Possession homage."

Austin Chronicle's Richard Whittaker called the horror flick "unrepentantly ghoulish" and noted its "protracted homage to Possession:"

"Holy Hell. I'd expect a horror this unrepentantly ghoulish from a small studio, not 20th Century. Graphic, grisly, and with a protracted homage to Possession."

Gizmodo reporter Germain Lussier teased a "nice little mystery" in The First Omen and promised it "weaves its way into the original" flick:

"The First Omen is pretty solid. Gory, intense, a nice little mystery in there too. It also weaves its way into the original in ways both expected and not. It’s a little uneven and predictable but when it hits, it hits hard. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach."

The First Omen "raises the bar" on 1976's The Omen, according to ScreenRant's Joseph Deckelmeier, hinting at one moment "that is bound to have people talking:"

"The 1976 version of The Omen had some chilling & controversial scenes, and #TheFirstOmen raises the bar. The film is a worthy prequel to the original. The First Omen is creepy, eerie, and unsettling. There’s one scene in particular that is bound to have people talking."

The cast of The First Omen is "wholly committed," according to freelancer Sarah Musnicky, but she had particular praise for Nell Tiger Free:

"The entire cast is wholly committed here, but Nell Tiger Free commands the screen. The physicality she taps into in THE FIRST OMEN is visceral. What is most damning - for better or worse - is how timely and timeless the overarching motivation is here for the horror."

Mama's Geeky's Tessa Smith wished the movie "leaned more into its R-rating" before adding how there are moments when it really "brings the gore:"

"The First Omen welcomes horror fans back to this chilling world right from the start! Wish it leaned more into its R-rating but when it brings the gore, it BRINGS THE GORE! Nell Tiger Free takes viewers on a journey with her that'll have you questioning everything."

Jeff Ewing praised The First Omen for having "some of the best horror cinematography" he has seen recently, calling parts of it "truly inspired:"

"WELL. THE FIRST OMEN is the real deal. Terrifying, a tremendous performance by Nell Tiger Free, and some of the best horror cinematography I’ve seen in a long time. Many scenes and choices were truly inspired. Absolutely dug it."

Nightmarish Conjurings founder Shannon McGrew promised The First Omen will "open your eyes" to the struggles "women feel at the hands of religion:"

"THE FIRST OMEN isn’t here to play nice. It isn’t here to put you at ease. It here’s to open your eyes to the pain, anguish, and despair women feel at the hands of religion and its grotesque hold over our bodies. It’s one hell of a doozy! Get ready!"

The First Omen is a "well-worthy prequel" to the 1976 classic per Variety's Jazz Tangcay, specifically stating its "great sound design and cinematography:"

"Did not expect much from The First Omen, but it’s a well-worthy prequel to Richard Donner’s 1976 classic. Great sound design and cinematography. And it’s got some bloody good scary moments."

Uproxx writer Mike Ryan compared The First Omen to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in how it "ends right at the beginning" of the 1976 original:

"So, I’m a big fan of Arkasha Stevenson’s THE FIRST OMEN. I truly *love* the first three Omen movies and I *love* how this one ends right at the beginning of Richard Donner’s 1976 THE OMEN. It’s the ROGUE ONE of Omen movies."

ComicBook's Jamie Jirak was won over in the third act by The First Omen, also stating how the movie can be watched independently from The Omen despite having "some deep connections:"

"I enjoyed #TheFirstOmen, which won me over in the third act. There's one gory moment that's gonna STICK WITH ME. You don’t have to see the OG to get it, but I do wish I had revisited it first because there are some deep connections. Nell Tiger Free is a killer lead!"

Why The First Omen's Reviews Are So Exciting

After 2006's The Omen reboot landed as a critical failure, The First Omen looks to be a return to form for the franchise. Critics have praised the performances, cinematography, storyline, and horror, promising a flick with strong connections to past movies while also opening the doors to new fans.

If these reviews translate to positivity across the general audiences, 20th Century Studios may well have the next horror sensation on its hands. Should this success translate to the box office, it wouldn't be shocking to see more entries in The Omen franchise in the coming years.

The First Omen hits theaters on Friday, April 5.

- In This Article: The First Omen
Release Date
April 05, 2024
Nell Tiger Free
Sonia Braga
Tawfeek Barhom
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.