An odd tale of love and death

As I am coming to find out, expanding your horizons isn’t such a bad thing, at least insofar as movie choices and new music are concerned. My most recent venture into the cinematic unknown was “Odd Thomas,” in honor of the Halloween spirit.

Creepy, suspenseful and kind of gross movies have never really been my speed, because of the aforementioned creepiness. But luckily for me, this movie also enjoys a sense of humor.

The late Anton Yelchin plays the titular psychic character in a remarkably different way than his most famous role of Ensign Chekov in the most recent Star Trek films. The most noticeable difference is the distinct lack of a Russian accent, but the snappy dialogue and humor overall is also a nice touch.

The movie opens with some southern rock music, with a very twangy guitar in the foreground. And in order to enhance the creepy aspect of the film, there are parts where the dark tones of an orchestra swell up from the background.

“I may see dead people, but then, by God, I do something about it,” Says Odd. This movie is reminiscent of M. Knight Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense,” complete with plot twists and turns, only this movie was much more humorous. Labeled as a “supernatural mystery thriller,” the movie is adapted from the book of the same name by author Dean Koontz.

Odd’s girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn, played by Addison Timlin (“Best Man Down,” “That Awkward Moment”) works incredibly well as a fun-loving and energetic foil to Yelchin’s Odd. Thankfully she isn’t merely a two-dimensional love interest as so often seen in movies, but is rather a character who propels the plot forward when it struggles.

Rounding out the cast are Willem Dafoe (“Platoon,” Spider-Man trilogy) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Doctor Who,” “Larry Crowne”). Dafoe portrays the police chief of Odd’s town who is in on his psychic secret, in a slight comic relief relation to Odd.

Meanwhile, Mbatha-Raw plays a waitress at the diner where Odd works, and is one of the only other people in this small California town who guesses or knows about his psychic ability. In the midst of a supernatural crisis, when harbingers of death roam the streets, it was nice to have someone to add a sense of human emphasis to the crisis.

An overall theme or feeling that I got from this film was of a dark comedy, with plenty of dry humor. “There’s something about a dead man trying to get a laugh that just bugs me. Perhaps because it suggests that, even in death, we still have a pathetic need to be liked — as well as the ever-present ability to humiliate ourselves,” says Odd.

There are some weird transitions between the shots in the movie, and very few jump scares, which is a nice change. Instead of trying to scare me by using a monster right in my face, the movie instead relies on the tension of the music, coupled with numerous plot twists and dramatic moments.

The villains of the movie, or perhaps some of the minions of evil, called bodachs, are animated with creepy, see-through, insect-like bodies. Rippling figures that look like clear bodies with no skin, acting as heralds of evil in death, they blend in seamlessly with the sets.

Some of the props, like body parts, are grotesquely realistic, which really adds to the mounting tension as the movie goes on, culminating with the final showdown.

The chemistry between Odd and the other characters is snappy and quick most times, with witty banter and sharp looks. Other times, it is nice and slow, and genuine moments of tenderness edge in.

As the movie finished, I was left with a large sense of confusion. Not over the plot of the movie; that was fairly evident from just watching it. No, the confusion came from the subject matter, and some of the shots.

I don’t believe the director or screenwriters meant to write a comedy movie. In fact, it seems very unintentional in most of the humorous parts. But the movie is funny in the same way that the movie “Hot Fuzz” was funny. If the actors and the chemistry between them weren’t so great, as well as the dialogue being so witty in parts, I don’t think I would have liked this movie nearly as much as I did.

After finishing this movie, I can’t say whether or not I will be going back to this genre of film anytime soon. But what I can say is that as long as this type of movie contains as much fun as “Odd Thomas,” I might come back for more eventually.