STARRING: Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Shuler Hensley, Leonor Varela, Willem Dafoe, Melissa Ordway, Nico Tortorella and Kyle McKeever
In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.
Odd Thomas is a small-town fry cook with a secret – He can see dead people….everywhere. One day a stranger shows up and is closely being followed by ghostly bodachs (paranormal predators who feed on pain and mass destruction), setting Odd on a path find out what serious trouble is ahead and put a stop to it.
Odd Thomas is a supernatural film based on Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name and was directed by the man behind the Brendan Fraser Mummy films and Scorpion King, Stephen Sommers. Right there this would give some of you an instant indication as to whether or not this film will be for you or not just by seeing the name of the director. With Yelchin’s recent passing I’ve begun burning through his filmography and unsurprisingly I’ve never heard of this film before (saying unsurprisingly as the films only made around $1.1m at the box office) so I searched for Odd Thomas to check it out.
Personally I found Yelchin to be a commanding and charming lead as Odd Thomas, who has the ability to see dead people and at times solve their deaths. However Odd sees more supernatural predators known as Bodachs than usual, giving him a sign that something seriously bad is going to happen in the small town of Pico Mundo. The storyline and mythology, while jumbled at times, intrigued me enough that I would like to check out the source material that the film is based on. The rest of the cast have characters that have their own sense of charm, Willem Dafoe as the town chief that knows about Odd’s powers and uses his services to solve cases and in return keep Odd safe and Addison Timlin as Odd’s love interest Stormy, who also knows Odd’s powers and looks to help him find out the reason for the sudden horde of Bodachs appearing in town.
While I have found out that fans of the book were disappointed with the film, I’ll state that the story is all over the place to find the balance of plot, suspense and horror which I don’t think Sommers got right. Visually and tonewise the film actually feels like a TV movie (with the use of special effects for the Bodachs and a few explosions) to which the viewing audience is given a brief introduction to the character of Odd and then thrown into a new story arc with seasoned characters (with those that know of Odd’s secret rather than him hiding it). All the while watching the film, I couldn’t help but think while I liked it, it could totally work better in a television series format. While the strongest scene comes in the final act, there was one too many plot twists for me in terms of the villain reveal as it just seemed to go on and on.
While the final cut of the film makes me feel that the material would work better in a television format, there’s still a decent story to follow here with a reliable performance from Anton Yelchin to keep me interested and I did buy into his relationship with Addison Timlin’s Stormy. This is coming from someone who hasn’t read the source material however. 6/10