Odd Thomas is an adaptation of a successful book series by bestselling author Dean Koontz. It has a successful director at the helm (Stephen Sommers of the Mummy films and GI Joe) and a fairly well-known cast. Yet it didn’t find a home in theaters and nobody even knew that it came out, even the fans of the books. This is a shame, because while the movie has a few narrative problems and its smallness is evident, it is definitely a movie that should have gotten a bigger release and at the very least should have gotten more exposure than it did.
Odd Thomas (yes, that’s his real name) is a short-order fry cook who can see and communicate with the dead. He helps out the police on cases they can’t quite crack, and begins to see demons that seem to signify that a local wannabe serial killer nicknamed Fungus Bob may be on his way to bringing about the end of the world, unless of course Odd and his friends can stop that from happening.
Anton Yelchin gives a great performance as the title character. He is jittery, sensitive, quirky, everything that Odd needs to be in order to work without going over the top. He brings a mixture of wit and self-deprecating humor plus a genuine oddness that the role certainly requires. Addison Timlin brings a positive energy to the film as Odd’s girlfriend, Stormy. Refreshingly, Odd does not hide anything from Stormy and she starts off the film knowing everything about him and his condition, as does the local police chief played by Willem Dafoe who calls Odd in to help with strange cases. Dafoe really seems to be having fun here. He understands the tone and the style of the material perfectly and he plays to it.
Even with the plot moving forward steadily, there is still a strong and appreciated sense of mystery moving into the final act of the film. Odd doesn’t always know these things for certain and he’s never dealt with any kind of danger on this level before. Is Fungus Bob really the person who is going to bring about the apocalypse? If he’s not, who is? And even if he is, is he working alone?
The CGI may already be dated, but for a movie on such a small scale with virtually no release, the effects are rather impressive. Because the movie doesn’t try to be big beyond its own capabilities. It’s not a hundred million dollar movie and it doesn’t try to look like one.
There are a lot of exciting visuals and some really imaginative things throughout Odd Thomas, it’s just a shame that the movie didn’t have a little more time to devote to them. But again, it’s entirely possible that it didn’t have the budget for anything like that anyway.
More than anything, Odd Thomas feels fresh, and that’s a big plus. It’s a quirky movie and it is definitely at its best when it’s not trying to be anything else. When it tries to be an action movie, it’s at its least effective.
If you want to give Odd Thomas a look, and I suggest you do, you can find it on Netflix. Unfortunately legal battles postponed the film’s release indefinitely, so Netflix is your one-stop shopping for Odd Thomas and will probably always remain so.
WICKED RATING: 7/10 [usr 7]
Director(s): Stephen Sommers
Writer(s): Stephen Sommers
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Ashley Sommers
Studio/ Production Co: Fusion Films, The Sommers Company
Budget: $27,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller