May 28 17

At a recent convention, a friend told me about an obscure movie she’d just seen on Netflix starring the late Anton Yelchin (an actor best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek franchise, who died way too soon last year in a freak accident). The film, Odd Thomas, was based on the first of a series of books by Dean Koontz. This 2013 adaptation did not have a wide release and quickly went to video.

Despite the fact I’m a huge horror fan, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Koontz novel, and I’ve seen very few films based on his work. But now I think I’m interested in giving the “Odd Thomas” series a try.

Odd is a twenty-year-old fry cook who lives in the quiet desert town of Pico Mundo, California. The only thing that makes him unique is his extraordinary gift: he can communicate with the deceased.

As he puts it, “I see dead people…but then, by god, I actually do something about it.”

He’s basically a supernatural detective, dealing with both spirits and demons (like “bodachs” – predators who feed on pain and tragedy).

When a creepy stranger ends up murdered, he and his girlfriend, Stormy (Addison Timlin), set about helping the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe) solve the crime. During the investigation, Odd realizes that his small town is about to suffer a horrifying fate.

Can he stop it from happening?

This movie is a combination murder mystery/detective drama (complete with “gumshoe narration”) and supernatural thriller. In many ways it reminded me of “The Frighteners” – a film based on Stephen King’s novel.

I don’t know if Odd Thomas does Koontz’s series of books justice, since I haven’t read any of them yet – but I’m always pleased with Anton Yelchin’s acting. I also enjoyed the sweet romantic scenes between Odd and Stormy, childhood sweethearts who thought they were meant to be together forever.

The twist at the end does pack an emotional wallop, and I kept thinking I should have seen it coming. Since there is no chance a sequel will be made, I’ve made up my mind to read the novels.

I’m giving Odd Thomas three out of five goblins. Check it out via streaming or on DVD – it’s definitely worth watching once.