A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Odd Thomas is a 2013 movie based on the Dean Koontz series of books. Nightmarish imagery, horror-movie violence, and moments of gore abound in this one. Also, there is an attempted mass murder in a shopping mall perpetrated by machine-gun-wielding characters. This movie also attempts to mine dark humor from images, as with that of a dead man with a severed arm using his severed arm to scratch his crotch, as well as well-timed flatulence from a decomposing cadaver that is covered in cockroaches. Although fans of the book series should appreciate the basic story of the titular character's clairvoyance used to stop the evils and horrors of this world, for those who haven't read the books, the gratuitous violence, bombastic production values, and stale humor don't make this the best way to start checking out Koontz's series.
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What's the story?
ODD THOMAS (Anton Yelchin) works as a short-order cook in the town of Pico Mundo, Calif., but it's a facade for his true calling: He's a clairvoyant who sees and prevents evil from happening to those around him. Thomas helps Police Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe) through his gift of seeing Bodachs -- clear demonic predators who always appear and portend horrible deaths. When Odd Thomas sees dozens of Bodachs everywhere he looks, he knows the town is on the verge of something awful. This is when he first sees the mysterious stranger Bob Robertson, a man whom Odd Thomas learns is a Satanist with a fascination with serial killers. It's up to Odd Thomas -- with the help of his girlfriend Stormy and Police Chief Porter -- to find out what Robertson's evil plan is, whom he's planning it with, and how they can be stopped before the local mall becomes a bloodbath of mass murder.
Is it any good?
Although fans of the series of Odd Thomas novels written by Dean Koontz might enjoy this adaptation, those unfamiliar with the series will probably have a tough time with it. This movie is filled with way too much gratuitous violence, indulgent nightmarish imagery, and flat "dark" humor to be anything special. The dialogue is incredibly self-satisfied in its attempts at cleverness and wit, and there's such an air of obnoxious bombast in every scene, it's difficult to enjoy what could have been an interesting premise had the production been less heavy-handed.
Though it's certainly not the most graphic horror movie out there, the moments of gore seem to have no point except to keep audiences temporarily entertained in the cheapest of ways. For those looking to get into the story and adventures of Odd Thomas, the best bet is to start with the books; this movie seems best for die-hard fans only.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror-movie violence and imagery. Did the violence in this movie seem appropriate to the overall story, or did it seem gratuitous? Why, or why not?
What challenges do you see in adapting a popular book series into a movie?
How does this movie compare with other dark-humored horror movies?
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