Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas - Anton Yelchin, posterDirector: Stephen Sommers

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Sommers, Willem Dafoe, Patton Oswalt

Cert: 15

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2013

 

 

The lowdown: Donnie Darko gets a huge shot of Scott Pilgrim in this charming knockabout horror.  Anton Yelchin is the titular Odd, a young lad who can see dead people… and then smacks down their killers.  Odd can also see Bodachs, parasitic wraiths that feed on persons linked to impending doom.  And when his sleepy California desert town becomes infested with them, something awful is clearly about to go down and he must solve the mystery.  Bouncy supernatural fun from the director of Deep Rising, Van Helsing and *cough* The Mummy.

Odd Thomas - Ashley Sommer, Anton YelchinOdd Thomas - Anton Yelchin, Fungus Bob

The full verdict: Dean R Koontz has always run second to Stephen King, both on page and screen.

But, with Odd Thomas Koontz gets a classy adaptation.  Channeling the spirit of Peter Jackson’s underrated The Frighteners, director Sommers literally has his film hit the ground running as Odd (actual name, mix up on birth certificate) pursues a murderer with the victim’s ghost egging him on.

Essentially a mystery story, Odd must use the Bodachs’ interest in various townsfolk to piece together clues of the impending apocalypse.  Aided by a useful, though disturbing vision of shotgun victims and a particularly shifty character around which Bodachs swarm, Odd and girlfriend Stormy (director Sommers’ daughter Ashley) are soon up to their necks in the forces of evil.

Odd Thomas - Anton Yelchin, mirrorOdd Thomas - Bodach

Reportedly Odd Thomas’ $27m budget was frequently in jeopardy, halting shooting on one occasion, but none of the woes are up on screen.  The CGI seems to have had a polish since the trailer and when the supernatural action kicks in it’s genuinely explosive.

Yelchin brings his Fright Night likeability to Odd, convincingly busting Bourne style moves and is vulnerably noble when protecting girlfriend Stormy.  Ashley Sommers is good enough to avoid nepotism claims when considering Lily Collins and Kat Dennings were also in the running.

Willem Dafoe adds a dash of Twin Peaks to his affable detective, although with everyone in the film so likeable the bad guy proves easy to spot.  Good then that the movie keeps a few twists for late in the day.

Logic leaps get higher as the climax nears, but a shift into fifth gear keeps attention distracted from the larger plot holes.

Kinetic, suspenseful, and with smart dialogue, as with Zombieland this most likely started life as a TV pilot before the silver screen beckoned.

To date Koontz has written ten Odd Thomas books.  We’d like to meet up with him again.

Rob Daniel