The Antichrist walks into a church…
No, that’s not the opening line of a terrible standup comedy set, but it does describe the beginning and the end (see what I did there) of the pilot for A&E’s new drama series Damien, a continuation of the 1976 horror classic The Omen.
Damien finds the demon spawn from the movie all grown up as a risk-taking photojournalist (Bradley James) who — in the midst of a chaotic assignment in Syria — gets a message from an elderly (and very creepy) old woman, in a perfect American accent: “It’s all for you, Damien!” she says, before slipping into a foreign tongue, getting clobbered with a rock and then disappearing with just a trace of her blood across our protagonist’s face.
Turns out, this is just the first step in the unwitting fella’s journey to raising the absolute worst kind of hell on earth.
Soon, he’s fending off slinky interest from a wealthy corporate fan (Barbara Hershey, having a blast in the role), trying to figure out why there’s always been “a dark cloud” hanging over him, and watching folks who help his investigation meet terrible fates. (A Biblical scholar who encourages Damien to say three Hail Marys gets his throat ripped out by a pack of Rottweilers, while Damien’s wide-eyed love interest suffocates in a sinkhole in one of New York City’s warehouse districts.)
Damien winds up staggering tearfully into an empty church and wondering what he’s done to deserve this, but the only answer he gets is the dramatic crumbling of a giant Crucifix. (Thanks for nothing, God!)
Outside the church, who does Damien see but the old Syrian woman? She rips out a lock of his hair before escaping into a city that doesn’t really look much like New York. When Damien gets home, he finds the woman’s face in every single one of his gritty, war-time photographs from around the world. (And you thought “Where’s Waldo?” was intense.) Oh, and if that’s not bad enough, his new bald patch reveals a “666” birthmark!
Looks like this’ll be the start of a beautiful
friendship demonic awakening.
What did you think of Damien? Grade the premiere in our poll below, then share your thoughts in the comments!