Film Review: Odd Thomas @ Toronto After Dark Film Fest07 November 2013 / by Emily Stachera (author)
I’ll be honest, and admit that my main incentive for seeing the suspense-thriller film Odd Thomas was Anton Yelchin, the cutie you may recognize as Chekov from the most recent Star Trek film reboot.
Odd Thomas (Yelchin), the films eponymous hero, along with his adorable ice-cream-scooping girlfriend, Stormy (Addison Timlin), delivered so much cuteness that the film could almost become a girly slumber-party classic.
But the film’s contrasting creepiness and gag-worthy gore kill that idea pretty quickly. The movie excels in both romantic and thrilling scenes, sometimes working off each other for added emotional oomph. The disparity also leaves you wondering what to feel about this particularly odd movie.
Directed by Stephen Sommers and based off Dean Koontz’s best-selling novel, Odd Thomas follows a 20-year-old fry-cook who lives up to his name—he can see and communicate with dead people. Using this gift, he solves murders and brings the guilty to justice. It’s an unusual life, but Odd is content, as long as he keeps the rest of his life simple and has Stormy by his side.
In a couple ways, the lighthearted main characters in the movie add a lot to its suspense. Odd is innocent and likable, and he immediately makes you root for his survival.
The compelling relationship between Odd and Stormy creates a connection with the audience. Odd mentions a couple of times in the movie that they are “destined to be together forever,” as is iterated in a flashback to the pair as children and a carnival fortune-telling machine that dispenses that very phrase to them on a card. The two actors have such strong chemistry that it tugs on your heart every time they have to separate, perhaps never to see each other again.
At the same time, the intense relationship between Odd and Stormy often detracts from the thriller-aspects of the movie. It makes many of the contrasting horror-scenes slightly off-putting. For instance: you have the pink-shirted, pretty ice-cream-shop girl, Stormy, in one scene, and a two-day rotten corpse leaking unidentified fluids the next. It makes each scene pop, for sure, but it also makes the film a little hard to digest.
Not to mention the ending, which because I didn’t read the book, caught me totally off-guard (and possibly a few other folks too, because I heard sobbing from the back row). The film also has a few glaring plot-holes that are hard to look over, but I won’t give anything away.
On the whole, the film is actually extremely enjoyable. It’s funny, entertaining, suspenseful, and emotionally exhausting in the good way. It also has Willem DeFoe in it, which is always a plus.
After it’s showing at Toronto’s After Dark Film Fest, there are no other showtimes listed for Odd Thomas in Toronto. The film will most likely go straight to DVD and be released in 2014.