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Odd Thomas – 7

Director – Stephen Sommers

Cast – Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, Willem Dafoe, Ashley Sommers, Shuler Hensley, Leonor Varela, Matthew Page, Casey Messer, Nico Tortorella, Kyle McKeever, Patton Oswalt

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When I came across Odd Thomas I was pretty stoked to give this a watch because it seemed relative to two other films I really enjoy, Constantine and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Films that involve a character that can see the dead and use that ability for “good” grab my attention, and this effort includes such a storyline. Directed by Stephen Sommers, who gave us the awesome Deep RisingThe Mummy,and the much hated Van Helsing, I was not sure what to expect with this piece. The way I saw it, the experience would be pretty good or really bad, and thankfully it was the former. While not as horrific as I wanted it to be, and pretty tame compared to similar efforts, Odd Thomas still provided a good horror experience that left me pleased in the end.

In a California desert town, diner fry cook Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is a regular guy with a big secret: he can see dead people. When a creepy newcomer enters town followed by an entourage of Bodachs – creatures that feed on pain and death – Odd knows that something terrible is on its way. With his girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin) and her father, Police Chief  Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe), by his side, Odd takes on the brewing battle between good and evil to stop the impending apocalyptic disaster.

The film’s opening sequence tells us a lot. Odd was supposed to be named Todd, but a typo resulted in his odd first name, and he can also see dead people. His clairvoyant abilities are not like that of Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense, where they dead frighten him. Instead, Odd sees dead people moving all around society and going about their afterlife business. Some frequent places they remember, while others help him catch those that put them in the afterlife in the first place. His abilities aid Chief Wyatt Porter in solving these crimes, however they taint the legal process and prove tiresome in court. With mixed emotions regarding Odd’s abilities, Chief Wyatt knows he means well and has no problem with him dating his daughter Stormy. We learn early on that when Odd sees Bodachs there is trouble looming in one way or another, however they do not cause the trouble but merely feed on it. As the film progresses there are many twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing, and the Bodachs keep growing in number to tremendous levels. Sommers, who adapted the screenplay from Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name, brings lots of development to keep things interesting. I mentioned earlier that this flick is pretty tame, and that is because the horror is mostly supplemental. While the Bodachs provide some good tension, they only feed on trouble instead of causing it, and they are most horrific element of the film. So what does that mean? That means that the main conflict is not one of horror. The acts we see at the end of the film are horrific in nature, but that is the extent of the horror they provide. I do feel that this film has enough horror to warrant a review and inclusion in the horror genre, but it is not devoutly horror like the films it will be compared to, like Constantine and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.

Sommers’ direction was pretty good and I found no major faults from this end. The acting performances were solid and every major character’s role was sold to the viewer. His pacing was tight and I never found myself thinking a scene was too long or that the film was dragging, and that is also a result of the screenwriting. Most importantly, though, his execution of the horror was good. I mentioned that the horror was a bit in the backseat for most of the film, but when it hit the screen it hit hard and delivered well. I will say that the horror was heavy in CGI, especially the Bodachs, but to be honest I did not find it detrimental to the experience. Blood and gore is minimal and the kills were tame, but in the end the horror was an accomplishment.

Overall, Odd Thomas is a positive flick that may be tamer than we’d like, but in the end still provides a good horror experience. The story is engaging and Sommers’ direction brings it to life, although expect lots of CGI to make that happen. This may not give you the nightmares you desire, but if all you need is a horror fix then this may be enough.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

  1. June 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I recently found this movie on Netflix and decided to watch it, even though I had never heard of it. I agree with your review, and I enjoyed the movie. After watching it I kept seeing it pop up in Redbox. I’m pretty sure it’s based off of a novel, maybe that’s why it’s more popular than I realized. Either way, good review! I enjoyed reading your take on the film!

    • July 4, 2014 at 3:51 am

      Yeah it is based off a Koontz novel. I’m not sure if I will check out the novel any time soon but I definitely enjoyed the movie and I’m glad you did as well. Thanks for reading.

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