Last updated: April 24. 2014 9:05AM - 1124 Views
Tom Doty Times Columnist

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Dean Koontz’s popular novels about a young man with supernatural abilities get a worthy film adaptation in this fast-paced flick from the director of “Deep Rising.”

The story is told from the point of view of the titular character. Odd is aptly named since he can see dead people, sense supernatural danger, and find those car keys you lost last week just by thinking about them. The only thing he can’t do is hear the dead, so he has to play charades with the dearly departed if he needs information from them.These abilities, and their limitations, are woven throughout the story and enhance the narrative. Despite these gifts, he works as a short-order cook and is content to confine his talents to home, so he can be near his true love, Stormy.

Fate deals him another hand. One of his abilities is that he can see supernatural entities called “bodachs.” These nasty critters look like cellophane draped over a skeleton but are actually harbingers of doom who show up when they sense imminent doom that will cause much suffering. They are amassing in a big way all over town.

Mr. Thomas has to pretend he can’t see them for a good reason. They tend to kill people who notice them, as evidenced in a shocking flashback to when Odd ran into a fellow kid who could see these creepy apparitions.

It just remains for our hero to follow the things around until they lead him to the source of the evil that is coming. Luckily, the town sheriff believes in Odd’s powers, although the deputies are skeptical.

Odd is able to link the bodachs to a new face in town. Turns out, the guy is easy to spot as he rocks a bizarre dye job that is confined to the center of his head and gives the appearance he is wearing a yarmulke.

Luck is a fleeting thing, however, and Odd loses the scent when the weird guy is killed and left for dead in Odd’s apartment. This means a human element is aware that he is tracking the bodachs and that can only be bad news. He winds up bringing Stormy into his search and they soon find out that all of their friends are in danger. The evil event is about to hit their town and many will be killed, unless Odd can decipher what the dead guy was up to and who his friends were.

It all leads up to a triple climax that finds Odd tracking the threat to its final destination and leaping in front of it to save his town. The last 20 minutes really zip by, as he must confront a coven of Satanists , save his girlfriend, and pilot a box truck packed with explosive while getting shot at by a maniac.

This is great stuff that manages to mix elements of comedy, horror, action and even drama. Odd is a three-dimensional character who you care for in a real way, despite the surreal events around him. He is a likeable guy as played by Anton Yelchin (“Fright Night”) and his friends are, too. The evil elements they must face are as bad as these guys are good, so you know there will be casualties here, and it keeps you sucked into the events.

The film also gets a boost from attractive location shooting. Santa Fe stands in for the fictional Pico Mundo and it looks wonderful onscreen. The film does an admirable job of adapting the book, thanks to director/screenwriter Stephen Sommers. This is the guy who made “The Mummy,” so he knows how to mix comedy and action, but he ups the ante by blending in drama by making the characters three-dimensional. It’s obvious he read the book thoroughly, as most of the stuff he cut out is still given a wink throughout the movie that fans of the books will appreciate.

This is a double win as it will please movie fans and steer viewers towards the Koontz books to get their next fix of Odd action.

Best line: “I got squat on your fungus, Bob.”

2013, unrated.

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