Odd Thomas wasn’t as odd a film as I thought it would be going in. But is a very fun twist on the “I see dead people and have to help trope”. Which is both nice and refreshing. Odd Thomas is also an adaptation of a book of the same name by horror/suspense author Dean Koontz an author I like and feel guilty about for not reading more of his work. Odd Thomas plays out more like a detective film than it does as a horror film. Not to say that it skimps on the horror, because it doesn’t. Odd Thomas does a great job building an impending sense of dread by making it one of the main focuses of the film. Then tries to deliver an equally excellent bout of revulsion only for it fall a little flat.
Odd Thomas is about.. well, Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) a short order cook who can see dead people. But he does, he goes does something about it. Odd’s secret is known to only a few, his girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn (Addison Timlin) and Police Chief Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe). One night Odd has a dream where faceless people are asking for his aid from a gun man who shoots them all, including Odd. The next day at Odd’s work a strange man nicked named Fungus Bob (Shuler Hensley) comes into his diner, crawling with creatures that only Odd can see called Bodachs. Creatures that feed off evil and carnage. Naturally he begins worrying as Bodachs only appear when great violence is about to unfold. Odd uses one of his other psychic gifts, psychic magnetism to follow and find Fungus Bob. Which leads him to his girlfriends work, then to Bob’s home. Where he breaks in and finds a portal to hell… also Odd finds out that Fungus Bob is way into serial killers. Odd informs the police chief about Bob resulting in the chief having him watched by two officers. Later that night while having dinner in the belfry a local church, Odd and Stormy are attacked by Bob, but they manage to escape him. After Odd and Stormy escape Bob trashes the church, although when the police arrive Bob is already gone and there’s nothing linking him to the crime. Odd’s psychic magnetism leads him to a local bowling alley where he finds the staff wearing the uniforms of the faceless people from his nightmare. As he and Stormy head home, they hear a woman scream and Odd races off to see if he can help. When he arrives, Odd finds Lysette Spinelli (Melissa Ordway) dead, mauled to death by dogs. A man who arrived on the scene before Odd, shot the dogs in an attempt to save Lysette. After returning Stormy home, Odd slips away from police surveillance and heads back to his place. When he arrives, Odd finds Fungus Bob’s body in his bathtub. Long since dead, causing Odd to realize that Fungus Bob was a ghost at the church. But if Bob isn’t the shooter, who is?
Odd Thomas is hard to sum up. Strange guy that can see ghosts must stop a mass murder before it happens. But the twists, while nothing new is incredibly well used. This might be due to Odd Thomas being an adaptation. So as films normally leave out a lot of content. So if they were able to cram all of this into the film. What didn’t?
The acting does feel a bit off to me. I can’t quite get my finger on it. But something about the delivery of the lines feels awkward and while well written it doesn’t really flow well. But it’s funny, well most of the time. Though this is mostly the writing and not the performance. Even Willem Defoe suffers from this here and I’ve loved just about everything I’ve seen him in.
Final thoughts, its good and I really liked it. The dark, dry humor really worked for me and while the acting deoes bug me a little. It never approaches terrible. It just feels off to me. The story does feel a bit formulaic, but not in a bad way. It feels fresh when I know it shouldn’t. All that said, it’s good and would recommend it. 7/10