Odd Thomas is certainly an odd case indeed. Stephen Sommers’ adaptation of Dean Koontz’s novel has good things about it, yet it has difficulty coming together as a whole.
Anton Yelchin stars as Odd Thomas, a sweetly distraught hero with an ability to avenge the deaths of others. He’s approached by silent spirits who then lead him on paths, and it’s his duty to right whatever wrongs he faces. The local police chief Wyatt Porter (played by Willem Dafoe) knows very little about the extent of Odd’s visions, but knows enough to believe him. With the additional support of his bewitching girlfriend Stormy (played by Addison Timlin), this particular mission Odd Thomas is exposed to could be his biggest challenge yet.
Yelchin has recently been in this horror/comedy realm with the underrated remake to Fright Night. He’s shown in other vehicles that he does a solid job as a performer showing that growth from an awkward bystander to a stronger, more protective character.
With Sommer throwing Yelchin immediately into the rugged role of Odd Thomas, the first couple of scenes are jarring and hard to take seriously. Yelchin, being an easily adaptable and talented actor, eventually stands his own in this off-kilter flick.
Everyone has a good relationship in Odd Thomas, and that helps the film tremendously. Although, the dialogue Sommers has written for the characters tends to be a bit too snappy for the film’s own good.
The rapport between Porter and Thomas is charming, and its a nice change seeing authority giving the cuckoo lead the benefit of the doubt. The chemistry between Odd and Stormy is very cute, as is the compatibility between Yelchin and Timlin. The quirky couple can sometimes push the limits of being too adorable with Stormy also being too accepting of Odd’s oddities, but these hiccups don’t take away from an especially emotional conclusion.
I even enjoyed the design of the invisible creatures known as bodaches. They slither around unbeknownst pedestrians as they seek evil to feed on. The film frequently resembles a Sunday night movie on a family oriented television network, but the film is not afraid to get bloody and the bodaches’ shapeshifting quickness will give audiences the willies.
The faults at hand are caused by Sommers’ overstuffed and baggy script. It’s clear to see the filmmaker was wanting to capture a noir feel to the mysteries surrounded by fantastical beings with Odd Thomas being our slick sleuth. We’re supposed to hear this through Yelchin’s narration, but Sommers accidentally mistakes inner monologues with long-winded expository narration. And, we get lots of it.
I haven’t read Koontz’s work, but it seems as if the author is grabbing hold of a variety of different tones amongst the weirdness. When Sommers applies all of these different moods to a film, it feels as if the filmmaker is trying to cover too much ground as he digs a hole that becomes deeper and deeper with each scene. A strenuous climax is the perfect example of the screenplay piling on more stuff to the point of exhaustion.
We do, however, get plenty of high-flying battles; showing that Sommers hasn’t lost his touch to deliver clamouring action pieces. Except this time, it’s set in a lower budgeted movie.
Odd Thomas is adequate, I suppose, but even that feels like I’m trying too hard to be optimistic. By the end, I was sort of glad the film had ended; which is too bad considering before my sigh of relief I was finding enjoyable spurts inside this yarn.