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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Omen
Omen
Panik House // Unrated // July 26, 2005
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted September 13, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Omen (2003, aka. Sung Horn) is a supernatural, Thai horror film co-written and edited by the Pang Bros, of The Eye 1&2 fame. The film is basically a vehicle for the boy band trio D2B to capitalize a little from the Asian horror explosion.

Beam, Big, and Dan (D2B going by their actual boy bad monikers) are a group of guys that work as graphic designers for a magazine. After working late one night, the trio each have encounters that shape their upcoming days in increasingly strange and dire ways. Dan has a head-on collision with a tree and wakes up in an old woman's house. As he leaves, she makes a vague statement, telling him, "You better use the stairs. Don't go in the small room. You won't like it." Beam meets a girl, Orm, and is instantly smitten. Big has a run in with a slight of hand savvy street kid.

The creepy octogenarian's cryptic phrase turns out to have been prophetic because Dan gets stuck in an elevator and freaks out. Returning to the old woman, she gives another premonition that turns out to come true. Her portents of bad things to come hits even closer to home when she warns of something bad happening around Orm, Beam's new woman, and the kid that Big keeps running into. But, what is her strange connection to them, and how can you stop what might be predestined to happen?

I thought that maybe an Asian horror film with a boy band might still have some promise of chills and bloodletting. I mean, you know for certain that if N'Sync were to try it in the US, the horror film would be some diluted PG-13 flick and have *shudder* dance numbers. But, Thailand is different,... or so I thought. I guess I should have learned from Andromeda that teeny bopper films, no matter what the country, equal teeny bopper tameness, so gore or extreme shock horror fans won't find any standout grue or jump scares in Omen.

Well, I'm not really going to fault it too much for playing to a different crowd. I know even giggling girls deserve a light horror film, but the true horror enthusiast in me, personally, doesn't care for any horror that plays it relatively safe. At least Omen tries for something different, no hag-haired girl ghosties or pale, cherub faced kids.

The real problem with the film is something I cannot even go into detail about. Why? Because it is so silly and strange, you probably won't believe me anyway. I'll just say, the ending, the whole mystery of the old woman, has something to do with black and white scenes between three kids and a puppy that the film occasionally cuts to. This film is going to the top of my list of "what the fuck?" finales. When people ask me what is the wierdest plot device I've seen in a horror movie, I'd usually say the dog having a flashback in The Hills Have Eyes 2. I'm pretty sure Omen may have trumped that with its excuse for all of its supernatural shenannigans.

The DVD: Panik House.

First, it should be mentioned that the disc has two menu language options, English or Spanish.

Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen. Thai film transfers are generally hit and miss. They have an evolving film industry but still struggle with many low budget, quality control production woes that the transfers often reflect. This transfer is quite good. The film print is marred by some slight spots and dirt but is otherwise quite robust. Sharpness details are mostly good with only a few scene exhibiting some softness. Color details and contrast also fare very well. Technically the disc has some minor compression issues leading to some graininess and slight ghosting, but not to a tremendously bothersome degree.

Sound: DTS, 5.1, or Stereo Surround, Thai language with optional English or Spanish subtitles. The soundtrack is fairly good. I didnt much care for the score, but the dialogue and fx are very well presented. I wasn't impressed with the surround mix. It is very basic and there isn't a good deal of separation or stereo fx.

Extras: Holographic slipcase cover— Sticker insert.— Trailers for Omen and Bangkok Dangerous.— Poster and Stills Galleries— Text articles: The D2B Story, D2B Profiles, and Tribute to Big, the latter being the tale of how Big was involving in a debilitating car accident, leading to a long road of recovery, and includes some get well notes from fans.

Now this just puzzles me to no end. The discs most meaty extra is an Easter Egg? Yes, hidden on the disc you'll find a 40 min featurette on the making of the film. Why on earth you'd want to bury a DVD's best extra is beyond me, but I guess Panik House is just that bold and carefree. The back of the case does state "...and a few Surprises!" under the special features, but I do think this might be a case of underestimating most consumers (and DVD reviewers- I only found it by accident) knowledge of Easter Eggs.

Conclusion: If the ending wasn't so out of nowhere strange, I'd say that it was a pretty forgettable horror film. However, the horror cinema sadist in me wants to recommend the movie as a rental just so I know other people will witness the impressive nerve they had to tack such a weird conclusion on the film. The transfer cannot be faulted; it is a good presentation with nice (though some are secret) extras.

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