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The Omen (2006) Ending Explained

Is it possible to believe that beneath the exterior of a singular precious, innocent child-like face lurks the ultimate evil determined to ignite the world on fire and watch it burn? To make that theoretical query all the more complex, what if that child was your own son? It'd be a seemingly impossible task to will that belief into your mind, but that is what diplomat Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) was asked to do by ministers of faith in the 1976 horror classic "The Omen." 

Unnerving, eerie and unforgettable (and possibly cursed), director Richard Donner induced anxieties in audiences far and wide with the pensive film, which chronicles the Antichrist's entrance into the world, setting the stage for him to gain power through the world's political establishments. It was a landmark achievement in horror that has inspired countless rip-offs. So, thirty years later, it only seemed natural it would get remade.

The 2006 "Omen" remake (directed by John Moore from "A Good Day to Die Hard") was made for modern audiences. This time, Liev Schrieber replaced Gregory Peck as Thorn, Julia Stiles played the mother of young Damien, and the film mostly copied every story beat from the original, save a few minor details. While the remake didn't sit well with some critics, it did have its fans — Roger Ebert, for one, praised the modernization. 

All these years later, it is still the original "Omen" that is best remembered, having performed well in its '70s box office heyday. Curiously, the remake has the distinction of ranking among the highest-grossing films to ever open on a Tuesday, pulling in a haul of $12 million domestically. That distinction as a historical footnote feels secure, as movies are rarely released on days other than Friday (its debut had everything to do with the film's stunt of being released on 06/06/2006, a reference to the mark of the beast as seen in the film). As Fox's president of distribution Bruce Snyder stated: "I was so concerned about it being a Tuesday, but obviously our marketing got the message across." 

Despite being a remake, it still made a chilling impact on audiences. Here's the ending to "The Omen" remake, explained.

Signs of the time

The 2006 "Omen" begins with the leadership of the Catholic church convening over the prophesied signs that herald the coming of the Antichrist. If you haven't seen the original film (and its sequels), everything is about the numbers "666." The time is 6:00 am on June 6 when the Vatican takes note of a comet in the sky. Alongside the timing of the comet, the leaders of the church begin to interpret the prophesied revelations of the end days, likening world events such as the destruction of the World Trade Center, the explosion of the returning Colombia space shuttle, and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina as signs of the forthcoming Antichrist.

At that very moment, Thorn arrives at a hospital in Rome where his wife has given birth. Tragically, a Catholic priest, Father Spiletto (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), informs Robert that the baby died after birth, but offers him a chance to assuage the heartache of the news by taking a baby boy who had no mother. If he didn't inform wife Katherine of the switch, he could save her the grief; reluctantly, Robert accepts the offer and participates in the lie surrounding his son's birth. The couple name their son Damien.

Ascending the ranks with help from below

Stationed in Italy, Robert Thorn's profession is that of an American diplomat. Following the "birth" of his son, his family begins to prosper in their lives overseas. After a few years pass, the Deputy Ambassador to the United Kingdom is killed during a freak accident, by all appearances. Of course, given the nature of the film's premise, we know other forces are at work. Due to the sudden death of the ambassador, Robert is given the position and moves his family into a spacious, fancy home in London. With the step up in prosperity, the Thorns hire a nanny for young Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick).

Shortly after the move, the couple celebrate Damien's birthday with a big splash, inviting friends and co-workers of the Thorns and procuring a ridiculously oversized cake fit for the crowd. During the event, a photographer, Keith Jennings (David Thewlis), is present to record the diplomat's big day, snapping photos of the guests. Eventually, the nanny passes Damien along to his mother before noticing a black dog staring at her in the distance. The scene is accompanied by an unsettling score to indicate that this watchful eye is no mere canine. 

Quickly, we see the nanny has lost her marbles, as she has tied a rope around her neck on the rooftop of the Thorn home and exclaims, "It's all for you, Damien!" before stepping over the ledge. Horrified by what has transpired, Robert runs to turn his son away from the disturbing scene and comfort him. Damien seems unbothered, however, and slowly waves to the black hound still spookily watching from a distance.

The prophecy

Inundated with questions regarding the publicized suicide from the press, Mr. Thorn attempts to brush cameras and news anchors aside as he welcomes the Saudi ambassador to the embassy in London. Here at the U.S. Embassy, he is approached by Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite), a distraught and emotionally tortured Catholic priest, who warns Robert of his son's destiny. Out of desperation for Robert's attention, he claims that he is seeking to save his soul and knows everything about the birth of the Thorn's son. Brennan knows the boy's mother to be a jackal — the slender wild canine who has famously been associated with demonic entities. As is typical of horror films, Robert doesn't seem to be even slightly disturbed by the recent events and Brennan's revelation. So, he brushes off the warning as preposterous and has the priest escorted out of the embassy. Keith Jennings is on site, snapping photos of the priest as he leaves the building.

Later that day, a new prospective replacement for the nanny position, Mrs. Baylock (Mia Farrow), mysteriously arrives uninvited to apply for the job. Mrs. Baylock has a clear interest in Damien from the start and tells the boy that she's here to protect him. The next day, the Thorn family prepares to head to the funeral of their former nanny. Mrs. Baylock attempts to keep Damien home by claiming he is under the weather. Despite her suggestion, Katherine firmly directs Mrs. Baylock to have him ready and escorted to the car momentarily. We quickly learn what Mrs. Baylock was attempting to protect the child from — his apparent allergy to holy relics, symbols, and places like church buildings.

Katherine's unease

Damien narrowly avoided setting foot inside a church building at the funeral by going wild and ferociously attacking his own mother in the car. Quick to avoid a scene, Robert tells the driver to keep driving past the church so that he can defuse the situation. Later, Katherine voices her concerns that her son might be "different." Robert insists that he's fine and has never "been sick a day in his life."

That night, Robert is startled by the low growl of a large dog in Damien's room as he gives the boy a hug. Apparently, Mrs. Baylock brought in a watchdog to help protect Damien without the Thorns' approval. When Mrs. Baylock tells the dogs to stop growling and recognize Robert as the master of the house, the dog instantly obeys. Perhaps even more strange, Mrs. Baylock said they found the dog outside. 

It's difficult to believe Mrs. Baylock is some sort of magical dog whisperer, so it's obvious there's something more supernatural afoot with this particular hellhound. Regardless, Robert orders her to get rid of the animal in the morning.

The next day, Katherine accompanies Damien and his classmates on a field trip to the zoo. There, she witnesses the animals getting agitated over the presence of the boy. That night, she confides in her husband that she continues to fear there is something off about Damien. Katherine feels guilt over her feelings, but can't ignore them. The next evening, she has a frightening dream in which she is brushing her teeth, but then sees a hideous jackal skeleton cloaked in a red robe in her bathroom mirror. When Katherine awakens from the dream, she heads downstairs and finds Damien making a sandwich in the kitchen. She tries to speak with him, but the little tyke picks up his meal and walks right past her.

At death's door

Earlier, at another event for his job, Robert was approached again by Father Brennan. This time, the priest simply told him a meeting time and place and that it was in Robert's best interest to show. If he didn't, it'd mean the death of his wife. Once again, Keith Jennings is in the background snapping photos. The photographer is later seen examining multiple photos that he's taken of Father Brennan at different events, and each one appears to have a fractal glare that resembles a spear or shards hailing down on the priest from above.

Eager to put the whole thing to rest, Robert meets the priest as requested. Cutting right to the point, Brennan tells him that he must travel to the town of Megiddo where he'll find a man by the name of Bugenhagen. This man will instruct Robert in the proper method of killing his son, Damien. With Robert startled and confused, Brennan finally spits it out: his boy is actually the son of the Devil. When Robert brings up the threat on his wife's life, Brennan tells him that she's pregnant. The child won't allow a sibling infant to be born, so he'll kill his wife while the baby is still in the womb. Eventually, Brennan adds that Damien will kill Robert once it's certain that Damien will inherit everything the diplomat has.

As the omen in Keith's photographs seem to foretell, Father Brennan's time is up. While running through the storm from the meeting place, the priest senses evil swirling through the air. He heads for safety inside the church. A supernatural force locks the door, preventing Brennan from entering. Just then, lighting strikes a steel rod at the top of the church which crashes through stained glass. The shards of glass and steel rod impale the priest below.

Damien strikes

Following that fateful meeting with the priest, Katherine reveals to Robert what he already knows  — she's pregnant. Instead of the revelation being a joyous one, however, Katherine is insistent that she get an abortion. She is consistently angered that Damien refuses to listen to her and that she senses something awful every time he's around. Katherine can't stand the idea of another child, and wants to terminate this pregnancy.

The following day, Katherine is on the third floor of their home, standing on a ladder overlooking the main hall watering her plants. Seemingly inspired by the nanny, Damien takes to his scooter and rams into her stool, knocking her over the ledge. She initially catches the ledge and begs for Damien to help, but the boy does nothing and she falls to the ground floor. Katherine doesn't die, but is admitted to the hospital with severe wounds and broken bones. When Robert rushes to the hospital to see his wife, she whispers to her husband to not "let him kill me." This ominous message opens Robert up to the possibility, finally, that his son might be evil.

The omens

As Robert returns home, Keith Jennings calls the diplomat to introduce himself and discuss his findings that persist in photographs surrounding the lives of the Thorns. He first shares photographs of the former nanny at the birthday party before she died. In all her appearances, a strange line in the lighting of the photograph appeared to mimic a noose around her neck. After thinking that he might possibly have a bad take, Keith explained that other photos showing the same effect were taken with a different camera. He then shares with Robert the photos surrounding the late Father Brennan, which similarly foretold his gruesome death.

Keith explains to Robert that Father Brennan was actually already dying from cancer. After some digging, Keith located Father Brennan's living space, a derelict maintenance room underneath some railroad tracks. He had covered the entire room in crucifixes and pages of the Bible. Digging into Father Brennan's writings and records, Keith reveals that a comet — not unlike the one that foretold the birth of Christ two millennia ago — appeared over the European continent just five years prior, during the time of Damien's birth. After Robert decides to hunt for answers, Keith states that he must go with Robert. He has a stake in the outcome, revealing that he has also been marked for death. After capturing his image in a mirror in one of his photographs, a line across his neck can clearly be seen.

A trail of misery

Robert and Keith first begin at the hospital where Damien was born, learning that it burned in a great fire, killing many people; the maternity ward, in particular, was considered by one nun as "an inferno." When Robert asked the nun about the tall priest that was overseeing the maternity ward, she instantly identified him as Father Spiletto — the priest who encouraged Robert to take Damien after the death of his own biological son. At the direction of the nun, the two head for a monastery in Subiaco, the believed location of Father Spiletto.

Along the journey, Robert and Keith make a pit stop to discuss interpretations of the book of Revelation, as connected with the present-day world. Keith states that according to scripture, the Antichrist's forthcoming will be signaled by prophecies of the Jews returning to Israel and the rise of the Holy Roman Empire. Robert connects the latter prophecy with the Treaty of Rome and the formation of the European Union. Another prophecy stating that the beast will rise from the sea is clarified by Keith. He states that the interpretation of the sea in this case is that of politics. The beast will rise from the world of politics, a segment of society with significant power and control. At this moment, Robert begins to think introspectively — his ambassador position clearly provides a gateway for Damien to the political world.

After arriving in Subiaco and taking an eerie boat ride through the fog, Robert and Keith arrive at Father Spiletto's monastery. When approaching Spiletto, however, viewers might be forgiven for thinking Thorn was about to converse with Emperor Palpatine

Severely disfigured, pale, and draped in a black cloak, the priest sits in a wheelchair. While only five years may have passed, those short years have been cruel to him, and casting his lot with the Devil likely didn't help. Robert asks the priest to tell him where he can find Damien's mother. Apparently mute, Spiletto writes the name of an old cemetery: Cerveteri.


Robert and Keith travel to the cemetery next, where they locate the grave of Damien's alleged biological mother, Maria Avedici Santoya. Upon removing the tombstone, they find that the body is the corpse of a jackal, just as Father Brennan had described. 

Next to Maria is the grave of her "child," who is obviously not Damien. The question then becomes a clear one: who is buried in the child's grave? Looking for answers Robert doesn't want to find, he opens the child's tomb to find a baby skeleton with a cracked skull. Dreadfully, Robert realizes that "they" killed his biological son and replaced him with Damian. Just then, the pair are attacked by black hounds, who were apparently waiting to ambush any trespassers. After a scuffle, the two men escape with their lives.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Baylock takes Damien to the hospital to see his mother under the guise of delivering flowers. After the hospital staff refuses visitors, Mrs. Baylock convinces the nurse to at least let her go in and place the flowers she brought. As Katherine's fears, Mrs. Baylock is there to finish what Damien started. 

In an anxiety-inducing scene, the nanny injects an air pocket into her IV. Katherine, completely immobile, watches in terror as the bubble makes its way through the tube. Mrs. Baylock muffles her screams and shuts off her heart monitor, as Katherine dies from the air embolism.

Time to act

After Robert receives word of his wife's death, he is finally convinced of what must be done, and travels to Meggido to find out how to kill Damien. After finding Bugenhagen (Michael Gambon), he instructs Robert in the proper method for killing the child. He must stab Damien with seven sacrificial daggers on hallowed ground. During Bugenhagen's ramblings about the procedure, Robert becomes doubtful, as he recalls the five years he has spent raising this child. 

Bugenhagen tells Thorn that the child bears the mark of the beast (666) somewhere on his body. Robert insists he has never seen any such mark on the child his entire life. As he grapples with the notion of murdering a child, Robert ultimately loses his nerve.

Rejecting the plan to kill Damien, he tosses the daggers. Keith, fearing for his own life, tells Robert that he will then do what needs to be done. He runs to collect the discarded daggers. Just as he does so, a hammer from a construction worker on a roof above falls and hits a sign just above Keith. The sign becomes dislodged and swings downward, decapitating the photographer. Seeing Keith's death omen coming to fruition is, once again, the motivation Robert needs to do the unthinkable. He grabs the daggers and heads home.

To kill a beast

Upon entering his own home, Robert is keenly aware that the child has a rabid watchdog skulking about, ready to strike. He lures the dog into a backroom and traps him in a cellar. Oddly, Robert still searches for more proof of Damien's fiery origins, grabbing a pair of scissors. He heads into the child's room while he's asleep and begins cutting away his hair, in an attempt to find the mark Bugenhagen spoke of. To his dismay, he finds it clear as day, just beneath the boy's hairline.

Just as Robert comes to the awful realization of who his son really is, Mrs. Baylock attacks. Thorn fights her off and grabs the child. He rushes out to his car and throws Damien in. Mrs. Baylock returns to attack and Robert runs her over, killing her. In his hurry, Robert draws the attention of law enforcement, who pursue him. Attempting to find the hallowed ground necessary for the deed (a church), Robert rushes inside the building and prepares to sacrifice Damien at the altar. Before he does so, Damien pleads with his "daddy" to stop. Before Robert can strike, the police arrive and gun him down.

In the final moments of the film, Robert is receiving a grand funeral as any ambassador would. At the same moment, apparently, the Pope dies in his bed. One of the Secret Service agents then tell the President of the United States that his car is ready. As the camera pans down, we see that the President is holding Damien's hand. Damien turns toward the camera and smirks.

While the film didn't do well enough to warrant sequels, viewers anxious to see what the future held for Damien can just as easily watch the follow-ups to the 1976 original. 1978's "Damien: Omen II" (featuring William Holden as Thorn) and 1981's "Omen III: The Final Conflict" (with a young Sam Neil playing a grown Damien) both tell further stories of Damien's misdeeds, while 1991's "Omen IV: The Awakening" depicts a new, female Antichrist.