The Omega Man Review

The Omega Man is another film in the classic story where humanity is seemingly wiped out so one guy has to survive on his own. That said, the premise is quite different here so you find out that other humans are alive quite early on. I have to say that most of the changes in this film were for the worst though. Ultimately it’s about on the level of your classic zombie film which isn’t really a complement.

The movie starts off with World War III and the human population is effectively destroyed by the chemical warfare. Fortunately Robert was able to survive due to a quick vaccine he had at the ready. As the last sane man alive he gathers supplies during the day and then keeps to himself at night. Those who have been infected can’t move freely in the day so that at least gives him a chance. See, the infected are led by a man named Mathias and they’ve created a cult of sorts where they want to hunt down anyone who still uses technology and isn’t cursed. Naturally Robert would fall into that category.

He’s held them off for a long time but when they finally capture him he is fortunately saved by a lady named Lisa. She explains that there is a whole resistance force that has escaped infection so far. Robert realizes this may finally give him a chance to recreate the vaccine and give it to everyone. Can he pull this off before Mathias and his troops take the heroes out? Additionally, will the rest of the humans only serve to slow Robert down and get him into trouble? That tends to be how things go in these films anyway.

The movie starts off well enough. It’s pretty interesting to see the deserted town and you feel how ominous the whole thing is. We see a shadow early on and you’re wondering what that is. Is it a zombie, enemy soldier? If you don’t know the plot before going into the film then there’s definitely a lot of suspense here as you wonder what exactly is going on here. It takes a little while before the film really lets you know what the score is in that respect. The beginning is just the best part of the film to be honest.

I also thought Robert does a good job of having fun here. When you’re the last man on Earth or seemingly so, you definitely better have a good sense of humor or you’re going to end up getting bored. So he talks to himself, plays games, and just has a good ole time. Of course he is lonely but he does a good job of hiding it and keeping himself active. I think that’s really the best thing to do in this situation. He can handle himself well and has good gun skills too. He even has that science background which comes in handy later on.

Where the film starts to buckle is when we meet the villains. The group is led by Mathias as I mentioned and he’s a very annoying main villain. He’s turned the whole situation into a cult where they attack the survivors but without a cure that means his gorup is slowly dying as it is. So there’s no end game here or any possible future where they are okay. His struggle seems meaningless. The film goes out of its way to show how they are all plagued by this disease and so it’s hard to even look at the characters. They’re all badly disfigured and have a lot of issues going on. It’s a shame that they are all brainwashed so thoroughly here.

Even though they’re sentient, for once I have to say that mindless zombies would be preferable here. These villains just seem so irrational that they may as well be mindless so it’s almost worse. Then you have their designs which hold them back as well. Yeah I could have done without these guys. Unfortunately the human characters aren’t very good either. First off you have the main heroine Lisa. At first she seems reasonable, a tough fighter who has survived in this cruel world for so long.

Yet, it feels like she doesn’t remember her survival skills when it counts. Near the end she decides to go and get some groceries, but Robert wisely points out that this isn’t the time for that. Villains can be anywhere and they can make it another day or so before it’s time to leave down. Well, she leaves anyway and things don’t go very well. In theory it should be tough for these guys to catch anyone with how slow they are but unfortunately she ended up being easy pickings for these guys.

Then you have Richie….oh nooooooo! You sort of know exactly when he’s going to make a bad move here. He tells Robert that he should either murder all of the cult members or try to cure them. Robert doesn’t want to mess with these guys since he was already captured once and refuses….so Richie figures he should go over there. Richie may have had connections before but this is really just a bad idea from the jump. You really should not be putting yourself in harm’s way like this. It causes a whole ripple effect across the story. The whole climax isn’t entirely Richie’s fault but he plays a big role in it.

Dutch is mainly safe because he doesn’t do anything although you will wonder where he is. He vanishes for large chunks of the movie and the resistance doesn’t appear until the end. It’s probably for the best that he wasn’t around or things would have gotten dicey for him too I suppose. By the end of the film you just feel like everyone ended up getting in Robert’s way. Perhaps he would have died eventually by himself anyway, you could say there’s a good chance of that. You still just wish things could have gone differently for him by the end.

The writing’s not bad here even if the characters are annoying most of the time. The romance is really rushed though and definitely could have been cut out of the film. Removing those scenes would help the film and in the middle of an apocalypse who is going to be distracted by romance anyway? There’s bigger things to worry about and that can wait until after the situation is resolved. At least that’s the way I see it.

Overall, The Omega Man is held back by the characters and is held back big time by the villains. It’s rare to say that zombies would be an improvement which shows just how bad these guys are. The climax isn’t very good and the movie does not end on a satisfying note. The romance doesn’t help matters either and so you’re left with a film that has a lot of weak points. All the best scenes in the film are from the very beginning and there’s a sharp decline once the other characters come into the mix. It’s almost inevitable that some humans appear but it would have been best to have kept that to a later point in the movie. The action’s good at least so if you can get past everything else then that’s always a fun sliver lining.

Overall 3/10

The Devil’s Own Review

Get ready for a lot of rubbish with this film folks. Films about cults or ones where the villains turn out to be from a cult tend to either be suspenseful as thrillers or just plain bad as we have to sit through long sequences of what they do for fun. This one falls into the latter as the film completely falls off the rails and I would have preferred if something really supernatural was going on. Of course with a title like this you expect the villains to be rather loopy.

The movie starts with a teacher named Gwen being attacked by some of the natives at the village she was working with. They even burst into her house wearing masks and she ended up leaving to work at a small village instead. This at least seems like a reasonable place to work, however the place is not as it seems. Two kids are trying to have a romance but it is forbidden by the adults and supposedly one of them is even a witch. This may seem to just be some pesky adults at first but then one of the kids falls into a coma and it seems that anyone who defies the old lady may get punishments as well. Is there really a witch in town and if so…is Gwen safe?

While I think the film’s pretty awful from cover to cover, I will give it some points for pulling off a really surprising move. At one point in the film we get a several month time skip which is a crazy long period of time. It comes out of nowhere and you wonder what the villains were doing this whole time. One thing leads to another and Gwen gets temporary amnesia for a while. So keep this in mind….the villains waited months to plan out their big move.

I mean it’s part of the prophecy and they had to wait but that was really convenient for Gwen. It’s heroic of Gwen to head back to stop the cult considering how dangerous it was, but she really got lucky there. Gwen wants to be a good teacher so you are rooting for her the whole time. I would just be upset at Alan since he’s the guy who gave her the position. He really didn’t give her much of a heads up about how crazy this place is.

As the film goes on, the body count grows with Ronnie being knocked into a coma, his father getting taken out, and ultimately the mother has to flee town. You’d think people could stand up to one old lady but I guess witch abilities are just too much for everyone. There is a fairly small cast of notable characters as a result.

Of course you have Granny Riggs herself, the lady known to be a witch or at least suspected of it. She talks tough and is extremely stern with Linda. She is really set on the old ways and while I agree with her that Linda is far too young for any kind of romance, the method she uses to get this point across is obviously wrong. Never any excuse for being nasty to such a small child.

Linda appears to be suspicious the whole time. She does claim that nothing is wrong at home and does her best to de-escalate each situation but whether you believe her or not will be the real question. Then you have Stephanie who appears to be nice enough and is the one person Gwen can count on. On one hand there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her but on the other hand, that alone is a bit odd eh?

The first half of the film is really more of a slow burner. Gwen walks through the town and gets to know everyone but it takes a while for things to take a turn. At first everyone just seems to be a little quirky and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where there’s smoke there is fire though and that’s usually a very tried and true lesson in these things. If the film kept it up like this then it really would have been quite all right.

The problem is the climax. Once we have the cult and we get to the usual human sacrifice angle, we have to sit through a very long procession with the characters acting like fools. They’re throwing mud at each other, babbling on about stuff, chanting, and doing everything you’d expect at a cult festival. It would seem that the whole town was under a spell so none of them had any strength of character here. The whole scene is so long though and incredibly gross.

It’s such a shocking departure from the rest of the film both in content and tone. It really comes out of nowhere and while it may underscore how depraved all of this is, the level of detail was wholly unnecessary. Cut that out of the film and this would at least jump up several points but with it the film was absolutely doomed to oblivion.

The film had such an easy out too. When Gwen got her amnesia and woke up at a happy little place, they could have hinted that it was all a dream. Perhaps her experience in the village during the opening scene just really messed her up and she imagined the rest. It may have felt like a bit of a cop out but at least then we wouldn’t have had to go back to the place. The townsfolk weren’t exactly grateful for her efforts either.

Ronnie’s mother is antagonistic to Gwen for no reason when the lead is trying to figure out what happened. She just seems to be jumping at shadows and is completely unreasonable. Then you have Alan who wants to convince people to leave the school but won’t clue Gwen in and gets upset at her for not picking up the nonexistent clues. If the people would talk more then this would be so much easier for Gwen. Of course this also depends on how much they actually know about the situation. They seem to know that the place isn’t a safe one to stay in at least so just tell this to Gwen straight up.

Overall, The Devil’s Own is definitely a very poorly made film. I’m still not totally sure why the name was switched from The Witches but I suppose this sounds like a more attention grabbing title? Both titles work for the film in different ways as the former describes the first half of the film while this one jumps you into the climax. Not like any version of the title would make the actual film any better though so I suppose it barely matters. The moral of the story here is to always watch out for cults no matter where you are or you may find yourself in trouble like the lead here.

Overall 1/10