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First reactions to The Omen prequel say it's religious horror's answer to Star Wars' Rogue One

 Nell Tiger Free as Margaret and Nicole Sorace as Carlita in The First Omen.
Nell Tiger Free as Margaret and Nicole Sorace as Carlita in The First Omen.

The first reactions to The Omen prequel The First Omen are in, and they're overwhelmingly positive... and feature interesting comparisons to films like Rosemary's Baby, Possession, and... Star Wars: A Rogue One Story.

Directed by Arkasha Stevenson, the new movie follows Margaret (Servant's Nell Tiger Free), a twentysomething novitiate, who travels from the US to Italy to start a new life of religious servitude. Once there, she strikes up a fast friendship with Carlita, a young girl at the school she's been assigned to teach at, who seems to be constantly punished and unfairly put in isolation by her superiors.

As she and the girl get closer, Margaret finds herself drawn into a dark conspiracy, and uncovers terrifying truths as to why she's really been brought to Rome. Sonia Braga, Ralph Ineson, and Bill Nighy round out the supporting cast.

"I'm a big fan of Arkasha Stevenson's THE FIRST OMEN. I truly *love* the first three Omen movies and I *love* how this one ends right at the beginning of Richard Donner's 1976 THE OMEN. It's the ROGUE ONE of Omen movies," tweeted Uproxx's Mike Ryan, while Dread Central's Mary Beth McAndrews described it as "exquisitely repulsive" and "the religious horror [she's] been waiting for".

"Also 10/10 Possession homage," she continued.

"[The First Omen] is quite effective. Pacing is a bit off in first half but it has rather unsettling and wild moments as it progresses - including one shot I am amazed made it into the movie and was so insane to see, the audience applauded," said WeEnjoyPodcast's Eric Goldman. "Nell Tiger Free is really great in it."

"Did not expect much from The First Omen, but it's a well-worthy prequel to Richard Donner's 1976 classic. Great sound design and cinematography," tweeted Cariety's Jazz Tangcay. "And it's got some bloody good scary moments."

"The First Omen is a mix of Rosemary's Baby & The Handmaid's Tale. It's disturbing and dark. It feels very European rather than a Hollywood production. Nell Tiger Free is captivating," said CineMovie TV. "Although it's been a while since watching the 1976 movie, it triggers callbacks."

"I am not being hyperbolic when I say THE FIRST OMEN is surprising. Do not dismiss seeing this film. What it does to honor its predecessors and add onto the mythos is fascinating," added freelance critic Sarah Musnicky. "[The First Omen] lays down the path for the future and all of its possibilities."

"I enjoyed #TheFirstOmen, which won me over in the third act. There's one gory moment that's gonna STICK WITH ME," gushed ComicBook.com's Jamie Jirak. "You don't have to see the OG to get it, but I do wish I had revisited it first, because there are some deep connections. Nell Tiger Free is a killer lead!"

Check out some more reactions below...

The First Omen releases in cinemas on April 5. For more, take a gander at our list of the best horror movies of all time, or our guide to the most exciting upcoming horror movies heading our way.