Odd Thomas

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Currently streaming on Netflix

NR (I would say it’s about PG-13 for minor gore)

Spoilers: None

This Catch Up is written by Telaina Eriksen

I’m not sure what the history of this movie is—I heard rumors of lawsuits between production companies and financial problems in the middle of the shoot. I’m not sure if it had any sort of theatrical release or not (the NR would seem to indicate it didn’t?) but it sounds like it was MEANT to have a theatrical release. With a very serviceable cast of Anton Yelchin as Odd Thomas, Addison Timlin as Odd’s girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn and Willem Dafoe as Police Chief Wyatt Porter, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this adaptation of Dean Koontz’s well-reviewed thriller. (Publisher’s Weekly said about Koontz’s first Odd book, “This is Koontz working at his pinnacle, providing terrific entertainment that deals seriously with some of the deepest themes of human existence: the nature of evil, the grip of fate and the power of love.”)

I read Odd Thomas in 2004 (I think?). I got it at the library and read it quickly over a weekend. I think I might have read one of its sequels, but then I got buried again in my never-ending reading list. So when my friend said on Facebook that she had liked the movie and it was currently streaming on Netflix, I took an hour-and-a-half this weekend to watch it. I don’t remember the ins and outs of the novel, having never re-read it, but the movie definitely has the same tone—Odd was likable, funny and you know…odd.

Odd Thomas sees dead people. He doesn’t want to be locked up for being crazy, so he tries to keep his talent hidden. Because Odd often needs the police, Chief Porter does know of Odd’s ability, and tries to find ways to explain how Odd knows a suspect has killed someone, etc.

The true conflict of the movie starts when Odd sees more bodachs than he has ever seen before surrounding a guy (dubbed “Fungus Man” by Odd and Stormy) at the restaurant at which Odd works as a short-order cook. Bodachs are creepy, transparent, alien-looking creatures who feed off of suffering and death. Odd has seen them previously, each time before a tragedy has struck, but never, ever such a large number of them. Odd has to pretend he can’t see the bodachs because everyone who has ever admitted to seeing a bodach has turned up dead. Odd knows something really, really bad is going to happen in his small hometown, and so he begins to follow Fungus Man (and FM’s posse of bodachs) to try to stop whatever it is that is about to occur.

This was exactly my kind of thriller movie. I can’t stand a lot of unnecessary gore anymore I spend one-third of each episode of Game of Thrones with my hands covering my eyes. I had to turn off Zombieland because I felt queasy. I had nightmares when my niece told me the plot of Saw. (Thanks, Hannah.) But this is more action with a side order of blood and bodach.

The dialogue is witty and there is excellent use of character narration (which is sometimes used in book adaptations when the writers can’t fit in necessary exposition any other way… I’m looking at you, Lord of the Rings) but Odd’s narration actually helps add to his character development as the viewer gets even more of a sense of his “voice” which gives the movie much of its charm. Also, excellent soundtracking, which gives the film a funky, small-town feel.

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