THE FIRST OMEN is the prequel to the very first The Omen (1976). The horror movie stars Servant‘s Nell Tiger Free and works remarkably well. It’s out on VOD and Hulu/Disney+ now. Read our full The First Omen movie review here!

THE FIRST OMEN is a new horror movie that works as a prequel to the iconic 1976 horror movie The Omen. While that particular horror franchise includes quite a few sequels, this one is a prequel to the original story, which means the ending ties directly into the plot of The Omen.

While I must admit I was completely enthralled with the movie and the performances, I watched Immaculate before this one and the two stories have a lot of similarities. This isn’t bad but results in a viewing experience that doesn’t feel as fresh. Still, Nell Tiger Free of Servant is amazing!

Continue reading our The First Omen movie review below. Find it on VOD and Hulu/Disney+ now.

Classic religion-based horror

Along with The Exorcist (which does seem referenced a few times in this movie as well), The Omen is one of the most iconic religion-based horror movies. It seemed obvious that this horror franchise would be reawakened just like most others before it. Now, here we are.

For the record, I do not see this as a bad thing as long as the original is respected and there’s a good story to work with. For The First Omen, I believe both criteria are met, so I’m a happy horror camper.

We meet Margaret, a young American sent to Rome, where she will take her vows to become a nun. Before she gets that far, she encounters darkness that has very little to do with God and a lot to do with the power and greed of the Church.

In fact, the Church is hoping to bring about the birth of evil incarnate in order to recover its relevance in the modern world. Oh yeah, in order to be the cure, they want to inflict sickness on the world.

The story is set in 1971 and The First Omen appropriately shows us the events leading up to Damien’s inception.

Two American would-be nuns go to Italy

While the opening of The First Omen and Immaculate are eerily similar, they do differ wildly later on. Both in terms of what their lead characters are to go through and how they react to their respective predicament. However, you do need to accept that they feel extremely similar in their initial premise.

To me, Immaculate is much stronger, but it’s also an original story whereas The First Omen is a prequel that ties into another original story.

In a world where prequels, sequels, reboots, and adaptions of both books and graphic novels are the default, this one still manages to feel unique. Sure, we know what will happen later in this cinematic universe due to it being a prequel to the iconic 1976 horror movie The Omen, but it is its own story!

The First Omen – Review | Horror Prequel to The Omen

Excellent casting all around

The First Omen stars Nell Tiger Free (Servant) in the all-important role of the nun-to-be, Margaret. Now a Novitiate, Margaret has never known a world without the Church as she’s been there her whole life. However, she has also been tormented by sinister visions and hallucinations her entire life.

Having seen Nell Tiger Free in the amazing (and also religion-driven) Apple TV+ series Servant, I had no doubt she would be brilliant in The First Omen as well. And she absolutely is. She brings the same power and depth to her character that I could hope for.

Along with Nell Tiger Free, we have amazing actors in even the smallest of roles. From Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman) as the older nun at Margaret’s new home to Maria Caballero (The Girl in the Mirror) as her roommate outside the convent as they’re getting ready to take their vows.

Ralph Ineson (The Witch, To Catch a Killer) is a priest trying to stop the sinister plans of the Church, while Bill Nighy (The Man Who Fell To Earth) is someone Margaret has known her entire life.

In a very small role, we also have Charles Dance (The Sandman) in the opening scene, which definitely made a solid impact on me. It also makes it clear that the style and vibe of the original movie are respected in this prequel.

Finally, we see Dora Romano, and I do mean see. She was also in Immaculate as the most important nun [Mother Superior] but in this movie, she has no real dialogue.

Watch The First Omen on Hulu or Disney+ now!

The First Omen is directed by Arkasha Stevenson. There are some brutal shots that I think made all the difference for this movie. Credit surely goes to the director for those. Arkasha Stevenson previously directed episodes of the TV series LegionChannel Zero, and Brand New Cherry Flavor.

This movie is, of course, based on characters created by David Seltzer (The Omen), and the story comes from Ben Jacoby (Bleed). The screenplay was written by Tim Smith & Arkasha Stevenson along with Keith Thomas (The Vigil).

Even though I expected this prequel to be good and feel that it delivered, I was happier with Immaculate. Having watched the two within such a short time makes it impossible not to compare them. Just like with Trunk and The Girl in the Trunk.

Having said that, I still recommend this movie to anyone who likes The Omen. Also to anyone who wants a well-crafted horror movie. My preference for the other nun movie, I can’t stop comparing this to, has more to do with personal likes and dislikes than the quality of this movie.

For the record, I would give this 3½ if we did half-ratings.

The First Omen was released on VOD on May 28 and Hulu/Disney+ on May 30, 2024.
It will also be available on DVD and Blu-ray from July 30, 2024.


In Theaters: April 5, 2024
On Digital: May 28, 2024 (VOD) | May 30, 2024 (Hulu/Disney+)
On DVD/Blu-ray: July 30, 2024
Director: Arkasha Stevenson
Writers: Tim Smith, Arkasha Stevenson, Keith Thomas
Cast: Nell Tiger Free, Bill Nighy, Ralph Ineson, Sonia Braga, Tawfeek Barhom, Charles Dance, Maria Caballero


A young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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