Stephen Sommers has spent most of the past 15-years in mega-budget movie territory with the first two The Mummy movies, Van Helsing and G.I. Joe. However now he’s lowered the budget substantially and made something a bit more personal, although still with plenty of effects and a large dose of the supernatural.
The film is based on a book by Dean Koontz, who’s an author whose novels have been adapted remarkably few times. It’s believed over 450 million copies of Koontz’s books have been sold, but only a handful of few films and TV series have been made from them. Odd Thomas is a good choice for an adaptation though, although as the film shows, it may actually have been better overall as a TV series.
Anton Yelchin plays the title character, who is indeed called ‘Odd’ due to a mistake on his birth certificate. The young man has as unusual gift, as he can see dead people who lead him to those who’ve done them wrong. He also sees evil creatures he calls Bodachs, which gather whenever something terrible is about to happen so that they can feed off the misery.
Odd realises something is very wrong in his small desert town when legions of Bodachs descend. Thanks to his gifts and the dream of one of his friends, he starts to believe a mass murder is going to place, and somehow he has to stop it.
It’s a fun film with plenty of humour and action, and Yelchin is well cast as a sweet young man trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. It also smartly eschews a couple of hoary clichés, which benefits the film greatly. The first is that unlike most films of this sort, Odd doesn’t have to tediously battle an unbelieving police force, as he has Willem Dafoe’s Police Chief on his side due to his past supernatural battles. Even better is that he’s already found his love in the form of Stormy (Addison Timlin), who’s allowed to be actively involved with what’s going on, rather than simply sitting on the sidelines worrying and waiting to be a damsel in distress (although there are times when she’s called upon for those duties).
The film does take a while to get going, which is partly due to the fact it has to spend quite a while setting up the world and how Odd’s gifts works. It’s difficult to escape the sensation at this point that it feels a little like the pilot of a TV show, and you could easily imagine a series where each week Odd would have to use his gift to help somebody different. After the setup it does broaden out and starts to feel a lot filmic, and even when there is a slight TV series sensation it’s a lot of fun.
While Koontz has continued to write Odd Thomas books, as this film didn’t turn out to be a big success, I doubt we’ll see any sequels, which is a bit of a shame. However the movie does amply show the possibilities for a TV series, so don’t be shocked if one of those shows up one day.
Overall Verdict: An entertaining supernatural flick with a charming central performance from Anton Yelchin. It may start out feeling like the setup for a TV show, but with its wit and supernatural shenanigans it more than wins through in its own right.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac