CAPSULE: Stephen Sommers writes, produces, and directs his adaptation of Dean Koontz's novel of the same name. Odd Thomas sees dead people. He also sees invisible demons. And he acts as detective for the dead. Only the really susceptible need fear ODD THOMAS. Sommers's film is nominally horror, though not very frightening. It turns into a detective mystery and then inevitably into an action film, all the while decorated with frequent comic touches. Perhaps that is spreading itself thin. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
Stephen Sommers was primarily a screenwriter, though in 1994 he did direct his own screenplay for THE JUNGLE BOOK. Then he wrote and directed THE MUMMY, which not only was a big hit for Universal, but also tied into the series of Mummy films that Universal made in the 1930s and 1940s. Universal had him come back doing multiple tie-ins to Universal's old and new horror series. He got additional oomph by marrying action and CGI to the old staples of the Gothic horror film. Here that gives the viewer creatures that are only slightly novel and nowhere near the essence of horror. Sommers may have been looking for the security of another franchise, since he has now adapted the first of a series of books by popular horror/adventure writer Dean R. Koontz.
Odd Thomas--that is his given name--is more than a little odd. He not only sees dead people (but does not hear them, as the dead cannot speak) he helps them get justice for evil that was done to them. Odd or "Oddy" has a hard time appeasing the throngs of dead who come to his door seeking retribution and the help of an undercover detective specializing in helping the dead. He also has to deal with little creatures unknown to others among the living. They are the bodacks--translucent, tentacled, supernatural beasties attracted to where bad things are about to happen--though since the living are unaware of the bodacks and since the dead cannot talk, it us unclear how Oddy ever found the name "bodack." Sommers keeps the dialog brisk even when the young protagonists should be frightened.
Oddy is played by Anton Yelchin, whom some viewers may remember as Chekov from the recent "Star Trek" movies. His equivalent of Inspector Lestrade is police chief Wyatt Porter, played by the reliable Willem Dafoe. The comparison may be apt as Odd and Sherlock Holmes each has incomprehensible but reliable resources that the police can trust even if they cannot duplicate.
ODD THOMAS has the feeling of a series pilot, which is exactly what the book was for Koontz. Whether Sommers considers this to be the first of a series is hard to tell. Even with what must be for Sommers a rather smallish budget, it could make a series of minor films or perhaps a TV series could be spun off. The film itself is probably as good as Sommers's other films, though that is not setting the bar very high, particularly in the case of his VAN HELSING. ODD THOMAS rates a decent but not overly impressive high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1767354/combined
What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/odd_thomas/
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2014 Mark R. Leeper