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updated: 2/28/2014 9:53 AM

Dumb-downed 'Odd Thomas' not overly scary

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  • Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin), right, confronts a very irate dead person in Stephen Sommers' "Odd Thomas," based on a Dean Koontz novel.

      Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin), right, confronts a very irate dead person in Stephen Sommers' "Odd Thomas," based on a Dean Koontz novel.

  • Video: "Odd Thomas" trailer

 
 

Stephen Sommers' "Odd Thomas" constitutes a visually dynamic, aggressively edited adaptation of a Dean Koontz book about a young fry cook who sees dead people.

Unlike the small fry star of "The Sixth Sense," Anton Yelchin's Odd Thomas tells us in never-ending narration, "I do something about it!"

Odd (yes, that's his name) uses his paranormal abilities to catch killers for the local police chief (Willem Dafoe, who appears to be on thespian autopilot), and can see invisible batlike creatures called Bordachs, whose appearances foreshadow horrific acts of carnage.

The fetching Addison Timlin plays Odd's loyal girlfriend Stormy, a nerd boy's perfect date: a sassy, up-for-anything adventurer who's more of a sidekick than a romantic interest.

Sommers directed, wrote and produced "Odd Thomas," which means he had no natural checks and balances for improving weaknesses in his movie, such as the annoying, overwritten voice-over narration Odd uses to explain every single detail of what we're seeing.

(When a stove's gas line gets cut, do we really need Odd to shout "Gas!" when no one's around?)

"Odd Thomas" should have been a scary horror movie with comic overtones, or a flat-out comedy with horror overtones. Instead, Sommers opts for a live-action version of a dumbed-down Scooby Doo adventure in which evil cops brandish "prince of darkness" tattoos.

"Odd Thomas" opens at the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg. Not rated, but contains violence, rough language. 96 minutes. ★ ★

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