ODD THOMAS **** USA 2013 93 mins
THE MUMMY / VAN HELSING filmmaker Stephen Sommers wrote, produced and directed this adaptation of Dean Koontz’s popular, franchise-spawning novel and earned the love of the original writer, who has famously decried pretty much all previous adaptations of his work. Anton Yelchin is well cast as a Pico Mundo fry cook who sees dead people and has psychic visions of demonic CG “bodachs” who appear to foreshadow imminent mass-death. The latest doom-laden vision involves a shifty-acting new guy in town nick-named “Fungus”, who appears to be planning a major assault on the modest town. Sommers’ movie is faithful to the original novel, capturing the quirks that distinguished it from the abundance of post-SIXTH SENSE “I see dead people” supernatural stories. The movie’s tonal shifts mimic that of the novel, alternating between creepy serial killer horror and romantic comedy. Yelchin, skirting the sentimentality that could have unbalanced the movie is appealing, Willem Dafoe is a warm presence as his sympathetic police-chief friend and the gorgeous Addison Timlin radiates appeal as the smart, sexy Stormy, understandably the love of Odd’s life. Working against the overall effectiveness are Sommers’ frenetic MTV pacing (at odds with the relatively low key story) and the fairly relentless voiceover narration (reflecting the first person narrative of the book). Still, the central love story works, the mall climax is well staged and the denouement is genuinely moving.
Review by Steven West