Oh, Anton Yelchin... this spritely young lad often gets lumped into the curly haired nebbish category, with Michael Cera and Jessie Eisenberg, like some stammering trifecta of awkward. But Yelchin's performances in the Star Trek remakes, Like Crazy, and Charlie Bartlett have always set him apart for me as a consistently exceptional and different actor. After seeing him in Stephen Sommers' Odd Thomas, I think he definitely has another one-up on the other fellas: Anton Yelchin can kick some major ass.
The Plot: Odd Thomas is based on a series of novels by Dean Koontz about a young man named, in fact, Odd Thomas. Odd is gifted with the ability to see the dead, and rather than run from this ability, he uses it to aid his police chief dad is solving crimes: some of which have yet to occur. Aided by the one and only love of his life, Stormy Llewellyn, Odd must use his powers to stop an epic disaster from claiming the lives of every one in his town, or lose his own life trying.
I didn't know remotely what to expect when I began watching Odd, so maybe that is why I enjoyed it so very much. From the very beginning, Odd is the kind of hero that you will root for, come hell or high water. He's funny and sweet, but Yelchin gives him an air of accessibility that is lacking from your typical Marvel superhero. It helps that his relationship with Stormy (played by Addison Timlin who is easily one of the most likable love interests I have ever seen in a film of this sort) is so endearing and totally believable. She's a toughie in her own right and just as clever as Odd, which makes them a pair I actually enjoyed watching. Normally I find love stories to be a distraction, but in this case, Odd and Stormy's romance was a plot point I liked.
And I certainly can't forget the delightful Willem Defoe! Let's be honest; generally speaking, Defoe plays nut jobs and manically crazy people. However, in Odd Thomas, Defoe plays Odd's father and I found his dialed-down performance to be a breath of fresh air. He was charming and sweet and I totally bought him as a concerned but still slightly eccentric father. I'm sure he will be back to he usual craziness soon, but I did find this side of him quite likable.
I also thought that Stephen Sommers' direction was excellent. Sommers is known by most for his direction of The Mummy films, Van Helsing, and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, all of which you could see in Odd Thomas. Odd is able to see evil ghosts who feed on fear and carnage that he has dubbed "bodachs," and the FX make them look like vampire/monsters made out of the same liquid as the T-1000. I can't even put a finger on their exact visual counterpart, but they are eerie and awful looking, in the best possible way. The spectacle that Sommers played up in his other films is dialed down in Odd Thomas and it plays to the film's favor. It seems more intimate and loving, which made me love it all the more.
Horror Fan's Note: Keep an eye out for Mummy actor Arnold Vosloo in a really hilarious cameo. Apparently dead guys are just as unfunny in death as they were in life.
Odd Thomas is funny, frightening, and sweet, with an ending that punched me right in the feels. The final moments of the film hinted at a sequel, and this is one case where I would be more than excited to hear that Odd Thomas was becoming a series.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Bodachs (minus .5 for making me cry!)