Odd Thomas (2013)
Directed by Stephen Sommers
I’m not a huge fan of PG-rated horror. I’ll often criticize a film when I think it was purposely tamed and diluted to reach the widest audience possible. But for whatever reason, I didn’t mind the PG-rated antics of Odd Thomas. Perhaps it was because the film made it clear from the first minute, this is a pg-rated horror comedy. Don’t get me wrong, there is some serious subject matter in this film-a child predator, satanic themes, and a planned mass killing-but it is told in a way that is not too gritty. It’s been over ten years since I read the Odd Thomas trilogy by Dean Koontz, but I seem to recall a much darker presentation of the story in the books. Or maybe that was just how I interpreted it.
Part of the acceptance of the film was the charm of the two main characters, Odd and his girlfriend, Stormy (Anton Yelchin and Addison Timlin). Odd does quite a bit of narration in this film. His acceptance of his place in the world, combined with his no-nonsense, flippant attitude toward life was likable. The film cut sideways to little vignettes often and it moved at a fast pace keeping my interest. Willem Dafoe’s talents are mostly wasted here as the police chief with few lines and limited screen time. The story has some nice plot twists and a high concept climax. It wasn’t really scary at any point and it was comical but not laugh-out-loud funny. However It was a good story with some good characters.
This is a film for a wide audience, from YA to old coots like me. It’s a shame this didn’t get a proper release here in the US because this could have been a big film for Koontz, provided it found the right audience. I’m sure Harry Potter fans, those into paranormal-light with a bit of fantasy, would have liked this.
Odd can see paranormal entities. When his small town is overrun by demons that feed on tragedy, Odd knows some major bad event is about to go down. It’s up to him to hunt down the paranormal clues and prevent this catastrophe from hurting the people he loves.
The Frighteners with a dose of John Dies at the End and a sprinkle of The Sixth Sense, if that kid Haley grew up and had a sense of humor. Good for a casual viewing.
I give it 3.0 dastardly demons on the scale of sinister satanic plots to steal souls!
Nice review! Not really into YA novelizations and not in the states but I may hunt it down one day. I like Yelchin and Dafoe enough.
The Odd Thomas books were definitley not YA, it just seems they filmed the movie with a less harsh feel to accommodate that demographic.
You’re definitely right that the book felt a lot darker. At least, it did to me. I’d imagine it was hard to transfer the atmosphere Koontz so effortlessly creates in his novels to the screen. Great review, spot on in my opinion.
I think it really depends on the director and what the studio wants. If you look at Stephen Kings adaptations, they can be extremely dark (the Mist, The Shining) or on the PG side (Silver Bullet, The Langoliers). Koontz has some great stories but none have been adapted in a way to be widely appreciated and cherished like King’ s work. I think this one had a good chance but the release was not handled well.
It feels like this should have gone with a PG-13 aesthetic. You know I actually prefer non-gory horror / dark fantasy, and the novel trilogy was great fodder for a well done PG-13 horror movie.
This is probably PG 13, but I’m so used to seeing nasty horror flicks it feels like G to me:) I think you would like it; it has all the paranormal stuff and no gore.
The books were darker. At first I was confused, didn’t realize it was G-horror and a dark comedy. Once it got going i fell for the characters and just let myself have fun. Didn’t see that ending coming but it’s been a while since I read the books. It also helped that the casting was excellent.
I agree, the two lead actors were really likeable and played their parts exceptionally.
Pretty much with you on this one. Honestly, I think this is one of Sommers’ best works. The Mummy reboots made me vomit in my mouth 19 times each film (I know a lot of people love these, and technically they’re surprisingly strong, which is a shocker just simply because of how massive they are). I did get a weird guilty pleasure kick out of Van Helsing (NOT a technically clean film, in the slightest LMAO). This one, was technically the strongest though, IMO. Interesting to see a quality cast and more controlled effects help produce a drastically different product. Odd Thomas was a blast.
I started this but never finished it. Got bored. I was always tempted to read the novels but never got around to it. I may give it a redo soon. I know it’s on my Netflix list so maybe I will get back to it sooner rather than later. Good post, Mike. Thanks!
Glad to see this review. Odd Thomas is on Netflix now and I’ve thought about viewing it. I’ve never read the Odd Thomas trilogy but I’ve read other novels by Koontz.
So Addison Timlin is an absolute rocket eh? This is actually one of the more positive reviews that I have read in regards to this film. I see it being bashed everywhere yet it looks quite interesting. I have always been a big fan of Dafoe! Mat casually view it at some-point!
I too can like a good PG rated horror film if it is done right. Poltergeist was rated PG and it’s one of the scariest movies ever made. I am curious about Odd Thomas because of it starring Anton Yelchin and I like a good paranormal light comedy. Good Review
This is no Poltergeist, but fun to watch 🙂