Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Robert: What is it, babe?
Katherine: Don’t…let him…kill me…
When his child dies at birth, a husband is convinced – in order to keep his wife from being too upset – to take home a different baby that has no family. As it turns out, this baby is the Anti-Christ. Oops.
I have not seen the original 1976 version of this, but I have to imagine that it was better than this. Everybody involved just seems to be on autopilot. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that is obviously bad, but there’s also nothing particularly good either. Plus, there’s not much energy in anything. Not in the acting, the music, the direction, or anything else. Damien (Davey-Fitzpatrick) is especially dull. They didn’t even give him much creepy to say. I think the actor is just too young to portray any real menace or intelligence beyond his years. He just comes off as a cute little kid trying to make mean faces.
Stiles and Schreiber are okay, but lifeless, and as usual, nay, ALWAYS, the mother is the one that sees the kid as being evil, while the husband sits by watching her go crazy, offering up helpful phrases like, “you just need some rest, honey” and “he’s just a little boy.” I’m pretty tired of that stuff in these kinds of movies.
I guess a few scenes manage to be creepy, and a couple of them will make you jump, but there’s no overall build up of dread that would seem appropriate for the subject matter. And speaking of that subject matter, we see Catholic church officials talking in the beginning about prophecies being fulfilled and how they believe that Armageddon is approaching soon. They refer to it as their biggest fear, which seemed odd to me because doesn’t Armageddon also signify the second coming of Christ? I know there’s horrible stuff associated with it also, but wouldn’t they be generally happy instead?
Regardless, none of that would matter if it was effectively scary or ominous, but it’s not. It’s well made, but it’s boring. Also, the final shot of the movie is just plain stupid and unnecessary. Maybe it was the same in the original, but that doesn’t make it ok.
It’s a no-brainer: Don’t take home strange, motherless babies from the hospital.
10 – 3 for dull acting, directing, etc – – 1.5 for some silly scenes = 5.5