It says a lot about his look that despite being 24, new-Chekov Anton Yelchin is still being cast as characters in their mid-teens. To his credit, he’s still believable in more than just his look, so the pattern continues in Odd Thomas where he plays the titular short-order cook who can see the dead and helps find justice for the murdered.
Based on the books by Dean Koontz, there’s a great streak of humour that becomes evident from the early moments of the film. “I see dead people”, says Odd (yep, that’s his actual name), “but then, by God, I do something about it”. This carries through several of the characters, aiding defuse some potential lapses into oversentimentality with girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin, Zero Hour) but is especially evident with Police Chief Wyatt Porter, with Willem Dafoe having the same mischievious glint of enjoyment that helped make The Boondock Saints a cult hit.
The film rattles along at a good pace, with director Stephen Sommers’ (The Mummy) stamp recognisable in the realisation of the phantom Bodachs that congregate around death and a good sense of style. There’s an aspect of the summer rollercoaster about proceedings, and it seems like it would have sat well in the holiday releases had there not been legal issues surrounding the marketing.
It’s not perfect – there’s a few moments of head-slapping “don’t do THAT!” moments by characters and a couple of times where I was half-expecting the Winchester brothers to show up with a quip and a shotgun loaded with rock salt, but a great sense of quirky fun makes Odd Thomas a blast to watch. And without a nuclear wessel in sight! ****