Odd Thomas (2013) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not every short-order cook is an undercover detective for dead people, but Odd is.

Odd Thomas is directed by Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy” (1999), “Van Helsing” (2004), “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009)), who also wrote the screenplay, based on a Dean Koontz novel by the same name. It’s a supernatural mystery thriller which stars Anton Yelchin as the central character of Odd Thomas, with Willem Dafoe and Addison Timlin also starring. Released in 2014, this film was made with a budget of $27 million, but was a major bomb at the box office only grossing $1.1 million. This was contrary to the writer of the source material, Dean Koontz, stating that he enjoyed the film – unfortunately though fans and critics felt that it didn’t feel dark and macabre enough to be a Koontz inspiration, and the film lacked depth and development.

“Odd Thomas” lives in a small town in California. He has a psychic ability which allows him to see dead people, but he is inspired to do something about what he sees – helping people move on or out of the way. One day Odd dreams about some faceless people being ginned down by a faceless gunman, it is a dream that wear heavy on him while he’s living his day-to-day life working in a local diner. One day a strange man comes to the diner, he’s surrounded by ‘bodachs’, which are evil spirits that feed on evil and carnage. Odd can see them, despite wishing that he couldn’t see them. He follows the strange man who he has nicknamed ‘Fungus Bob’ on account of his hair. He finds apparent evidence which suggests that Fungus Bob is going to do something bad. Odd reports this to the local police chief, played by Dafoe, who promptly has Fungus Bob followed. Lots of strange events begin to happen, some of which have been prophesised in dreams, other which are happening because of supernatural activity in the area. As people slowly start to get killed off it seems that only Odd Thomas has the ability to save the town and the people who loves, but it’s not going to be easy.

Anton Yelchin is great in this role; he is a perfect mix of emotions that allowed me to emphasise with his character. Prior to this I had seen him as Chekov in the “Star Trek” reboots (the first reboot being in 2009) and as a young Kyle Reese in “Terminator Salvation” (2009); both of which are roles I enjoyed his delivery in. This was really the first role I had seen him in as the main central character, and he did not disappoint. Alongside Yelchin was Leonor Varela, who I remember from “Blade 2”, she played Odd’s mother. Willem Dafoe appeared as Chief Wyatt Porter, who, as I’d expected, managed to almost steal every scene he was in with his pristine acting performance. His character knows about Odd’s abilities and he tries to assist and guide Odd where possible, he comes across as wide and loving, but with a definite air of authority about him still. Addison Timlin plays “Stormy” Llewellyn, Odd’s love interest. She does well and is convincing, she is also confided in regarding Odd’s powers, and she too tries to help him as much as she can.

I felt that the plot of the film was decent enough and the screenplay delivered was good. Based on work by Koontz, you would genuinely expect the story to be rich with depth and development – and I found that to be the case. Having not read the book though, I can’t be sure if the film lives up the standard of the book, which in most cases of book to film doesn’t always appear to be the case. The visual effects in the film were enjoyable and engaging, there are times that with a combination of the vfx and Yelchin’s delivery you can really feel the fear. This is a fast-paced film which kept me hooked throughout, and with a good few twist at the end it is easy to get thrown off the scent of what is going on and how everything is going to end.

If I had to pick fault, it is that at times it feels like there could be a light-hearted teen romance aspect to the film. Odd and Stormy’s relationship does not seem that deep and entwined, more light-hearted and fun. From all accounts this is explored more in the book than the film. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why it did not do as well as the box office; with other book-to-film teen-supernatural action thrillers coming out regularly between 2005 – 2015, maybe this wasn’t as powerful a love story as your average ‘shadowhunter’ experiences; or perhaps it was a darker theme than other sparkly vampire based films; or more complex than your average dystopian gameshow-for-tributes kind of film.

I enjoyed this film and though it was delivered well. With a runtime somewhere between 90-105 minutes (depending on which cut you get), I would be happy to recommend this to friends. The fact that it received a 15 rating means that it is suitable for a wide range of family members. Sure, it has dark themes of supernatural, but other than that it’s clean enough that you can sit a teen in front of it without too much worry.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (7/10)

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