Odd Thomas 


(2013)

Dean Koontz’s series of Odd Thomas novels now numbers six. I stopped reading after book four because an initially good concept had grown patently awful, succumbing to the law of diminishing returns. By contrast, Stephen Sommers’ film adaptation, a would-be franchise-starter itself, never gets the chance to  devolve into tedium; it is that from the start.

Brought to mild-mannered life by Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness), Odd is a fry cook whose gifts extend beyond slinging hash: He sees dead people.

“But then, by God,” he tells viewers via narration, “I do something about it.” That something is communicating with ghosts of the departed to catch their killers. Odd also knows who’s doomed for this world; he can see the wispy “bodachs” surrounding the soon-to-be-dead.

Thus begins a supernatural, potential career-killer for Sommers, who may wish he hadn’t abandoned those Mummy and G.I. Joe tentpoles he staked. Tonally, Odd Thomas is a janitorial mess for which there isn’t a strongenough mop, and it’s tough to root for Odd and his girlfriend (Addison Timlin, Stand Up Guys) when their relationship is built upon YA-ready dialogue that nauseates the audience. Unlike rival Stephen King, Koontz just can’t win at the movies. — Rod Lott

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