“Stephen Sommers’ “Odd Thomas” Is An Interesting Diversion And Unfortunately Little Else.”
I haven’t read any of ‘Odd Thomas’ books by Stephen Koontz, but I did enjoy that last movie based on one of his novels, Joe Chappelle’s 1998 movie, “Phantoms.” The director handling Koontz’s work this time around is Stephen Sommers, and that may be what makes Odd Thomas so…odd.
The dialog at times has a sing-song, almost lyrical quality that’s a little distracting, as if I everyone is about to break out into song. People also seem to almost complete each others sentences during conversations, and suffer from terminal hipness, which adds to the strangeness.
Then there’s Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin), who not only has the ability to see and communicate with the dead, but can also see these specters, known as ‘Bodacks,’ that feed on violence and death, though they do not cause it (unless you’re like Odd, and can see them).
The thing is, I am not quite sure what type of film Sommers was trying to make because horrific events are horrific because there’s a contrast between them and everything else. By way of example, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is so effective because the people that surround Michael Myers are so, relatively speaking, normal. Their normalcy provides a contrast to Myers, and by doing so make him even scarier.
And I am not saying that Sommers was trying to make the next “Halloween,” but I am saying that he was trying to build tension and suspense at times, which is hard to do when things are often very jokey, and everyone is so weird.
Or when everyone is so quirky–like they are here–that there’s not enough contrast between them and the threat.
Though that may have been Sommers intention all along, but it does his movie no favors.
Though there are even odder things, related to the production, that distract as well. There’s a scene where Odd and his girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn (Addison Timlin) are riding a scooter through town at night that is cut with painfully obvious green screen scenes of the actors doing the same thing that threatens to take you out of the movie.
And someone needs to tell Sommers that those exotic-looking cockroaches, like those on the left, aren’t particularly scary, mainly because they’re so exotic that most people have never seen them before.
On top of the fact every other director uses them whenever there is a need for roaches.
“Odd Thomas” is currently on Netflix.