By Nick Gonzales
Herald staff writer
What if the kid from “The Sixth Sense” grew up and became Marty McFly from “Back to the Future”? “Odd Thomas” does its best to answer that question. Tongue-in-cheek and quirky, the film is based on a series of novels by Dean Koontz.
Odd, the titular character played by the late Anton Yelchin, is a fry cook with a secret – he can see dead people. Naturally, the ability to speak to murder victims comes in handy for finding killers, leading Odd to befriend the local police chief (played by Willem Dafoe). When a horde of fear-seeking demons that only he can see appears and heralds a coming catastrophe, Odd must unravel a satanic conspiracy.
The plot takes a while to get going, but once it does, “Odd Thomas” is surprisingly gripping. This is largely thanks to the acting chops of Yelchin and Addison Timlin, who plays Odd’s girlfriend, Stormy. Their onscreen dynamic is quite reminiscent of Michael J. Fox and Elisabeth Shue in “Back to the Future Part II.” Played by anyone else, the story would have seemed contrived and the romantic scenes cloying, but they pull it off.
The setting of “Odd Thomas” – the fictional New Mexico town of Pico Mundo – is also worth mentioning. Filmed quite a bit in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the movie does a great job of building a world and community and then putting them in peril. Viewers who head to the Duke City for shopping will recognize a number of locales.
“Odd Thomas” isn’t perfect. Though gory, the movie could have been much scarier. And its best actor, Dafoe, doesn’t get a chance to do much. Nevertheless, the film is worth checking out just for its peculiar charm.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick Gonzales is one of The Durango Herald newsroom’s resident film buffs. He welcomes movie recommendations. Follow him on Twitter @lackingzones.