Odd Thomas is a mystery/thriller that revolves around a small-town fry cook who personifies his name. He can see the dead walking among us, catches their murderers, and can see dark creatures he dubs ‘bodachs’ who feed on the pain of others and presage death and doom; the latter of which form the premise of the movie. When a record number of bodachs descend upon the small town of Pico Mundo it is up to Odd, with the help of his girlfriend Stormy, the chief of police, and other assorted friends about town, to solve the mystery of their presence and save the day, all the while trying to retain some semblance of normalcy.
Starring Anton Yelchin as the title character, Odd Thomas has an impressive cast including Willem Dafoe as the trusting police chief, up-and-comer Addison Timlin as the sickeningly sweet and sassy girlfriend, The Following’s Nico Tortorella as a Pico Mundo police officer, and a surprisingly short appearance by Patton Oswalt as Ozzie. Despite the impressive talent involved, Odd Thomas had a bit of a battle making it to the big screen due to investor setbacks causing multiple lawsuits. Because of these delays, the film didn’t make it to theatres until February 2014 and was then released on Blu-ray and DVD in March.
Based on the best-selling series written by Dean Koontz, the film is a decent adaptation co-written by Koontz and Stephen Sommers, who also directed. Koontz even wrote a letter on his website to his fans about how incredibly pleased he was with the final product and championing Yelchin’s performance. Sommers’ style is recognizable from his previous films which include The Mummy and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He even included one of his trademark actors, Arnold Vosloo, in a fleeting appearance as one of Odd’s ghosts.
I was impressed with the heart of the story and how the film draws the viewer in immediately and keeps you on your toes the entire time. Although sometimes bogged down by the constant voice-over, it aids in conveying the complicated but necessary back story of Odd and assists in transitioning between characters during scenes. The overall oddness comes across well especially with the succinctly crass and intelligent dialogue. Some viewers may hate and others may love the kitschy romance between Odd and Stormy, which I think exemplifies what most of us deep down really want with another person, even though you want to barf a little when you actually see it. The thing I love most about this film is the subtle Wizard of Oz theme Sommers employs throughout. The character Ozzie gifts Odd with a heart-shaped necklace, Odd’s head is noted to be “full of fluff” and stuffing, and Stormy feels the need to give Odd courage and strength. It is all so subtly done you may not even realize it until Stormy begins reading The Wizard of Oz right before the climax of the film.
All of this, combined with a fast-paced modern soundtrack, wholly entertaining sound effects (seriously, the foley artists deserve an award), and the fantastical, heart-wrenching ending that employs a creative twist, makes Odd Thomas one of the best films I’ve seen in awhile.