Review: Odd Thomas / Cert: TBC / Director: Stephen Sommers / Screenplay: Stephen Sommers / Starring: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Ashley Sommers / Release Date: February 3rd, 2014
Young Chekov from the Star Trek reboot stars as the titular character in this Dean Koontz adaptation. Like Thomas himself and so many of Koontz's unconventional thrillers, it's a little, well... odd.
Koontz's signature character (Frankenstein doesn't count) is cheerier than most horror protagonists, in spite of his no-doubt stress-inducing ability to converse with the dead and investigate the circumstances surrounding their demise. “I see dead people,” Thomas merrily proclaims in his opening narration, but he's more well-adjusted than most. Very little of that John Constantine angst and misery for this young lad – no need for a dead therapist, a la The Sixth Sense's Bruce Willis. That's not to say that the stakes aren't high – Thomas wages a constant war against dark forces which threaten to consume him and those he loves at any moment.
As he did in Star Trek and the Fright Night remake, Anton Yelchin exudes an easy charm. He's ably backed up by Willem Dafoe (not playing the bad guy, surprisingly) and Addison Timlin as love interest Stormy. The love story between Thomas and Stormy is sweetly realised, although it may be a little too saccharine for some. All pet names and doe-eyes, it's as big a part of the story as the central mystery and its many ghosts. Like The Dead Zone's John Smith, Thomas can foresee something big and bad happening to his little hometown. With its Men in Black-meets-Supernatural vibe, it's less apocalyptic and grim than The Dead Zone, but it still has its fair share of scares.
There are some changes to the source material (Elvis plays a much smaller role, for one thing), but newcomers and fans of the book should both enjoy it about the same. It's fun, funny and bolstered with several great performances. It's particularly nice to see Dafoe play the good guy, as Thomas' police chief best pal. With a plot that whips along quite nicely, clever action sequences and a few nifty special effects, it makes for easy viewing. In spite of the lack of buzz surrounding it, it's director Stephen Sommers' best film since The Mummy. In fact, it's his best film yet (not hard when your CV consists of the likes of Van Helsing and G.I. Joe).
There's no shaking the fact that it all feels a bit television (it'd make for a great TV series) but otherwise, it's a delightful oddity.