Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Odd Thomas (2013)

Odd Thomas is a book by Dean Koontz. Some people refer to him, rather unfairly, as the poor man's Stephen King. While some of his books do seem to have a lack of, I don't want to say imagination because there's plenty of that. I guess people believe that he is more of a writer for the masses, and not for those who appreciate a good scare. 

Personally, I own several of his books, and have read them many times. My favorite one is called Lightning. It's an older one, and I wish they could make a movie out of it, but at the same time I don't want them to try because I know they'd screw it up.

Lightning has just about everything. You have horror, romance, Nazis, time travel, consequences of changing events in the past, as well as the future, and just about anything else you can think of. This is a great book. I just don't want to see it on the big screen starring Brad Pitt and a bunch of CGI effects.

But let's get back to Odd Thomas. That is his actual name. He explains that his family has told him several versions of how he got that name, from it being an error, to it being the name of a distant relative. Looking at my first name, I am completely in tune with how he feels. 

It's not a lot of fun to go through life constantly having to repeat and re-repeat your name and spell it at least once every time you meet someone. And yet, celebrities think it is just wonderful to name their progeny something very, very strange with impossible spelling that their child is destined to repeat endlessly throughout its life.

Odd Thomas can see dead people. No, he's not the grown-up boy from The Sixth Sense and there is no Bruce Willis here. Odd Thomas not only sees dead people, but because, according to the rules of this book, they cannot speak, somehow he is able to discern how they died and who killed them.

Odd Thomas lives in a small California town. He works as a short order cook. The love of his life is a waitress who works there, named Stormy. He also is not passive about his ability. In fact, a phrase from the book was adapted to be the catchphrase of the movie poster. Something to the effect of I may see dead people, but then by God, I do something about it. Something like that. 

In other words, when he meets up with a dead person and sees a vision in his head of how they died and who killed them, he goes after the murderer. He does not have a weapon. In this movie, apparently, neither does anyone who he goes up against. Massive duh. In one case, he tells the killer he knows he has a bit of the victim's blood in his pocket. Then he knocks him into a swimming pool. So much for the evidence...

What he does, at least in this movie, is beat the crap out of and subdue the alleged murderer until the police arrive. In real life, this action alone would get him thrown in prison. But for the sake of this movie, he is looked on as a hero, if a little odd. Pun intended.

Now it gets weirder. Apparently, the fact that Odd can see dead people and find criminals isn't enough. There are creatures following certain people around called bodachs. These horrid gravity-defying creatures apparently follow around those, either to whom calamity is to happen, or who is about to cause calamity. Hey, I don't make this up. I just write it down. This word bodach is simply a fancy way according to wiki of saying bogeyman.

At this point, as he sometimes does, my husband walked by and saw the scene where these creatures are following someone. He immediately and correctly said that this was an awful lot like the short-lived series Dead Like Me. In that particular show, people who had died, but not crossed over, were given jobs like regular people. In their extra time they are given assignments on small sticky notes of who is about to die. 

They get a name and a time and that's it. But, strange small nasty creatures called gravelings, always seem to show up just before the person dies to make sure events come together right so that the death happens, right on schedule.

So the bodachs are this movie's way of warning you that something bad is about to happen. With movies like Paranormal Activity, and other movies of the same ilk, they use a cheap sound effect that sounds like rumbling to let you know something bad is about to happen. Here it's bodachs. 

One day while he's flipping burgers, Odd happens to notice a strange man whose hair looks like it is made of mold. And there are a butt load of bodachs, following him around. Since this movie is 100 minutes long, it takes a while to get around to the point. We get a little background on the monsters, mostly that if you pretend not to see them, they won't bother you. If they know you can see them, you're in a world of hurt. Why? Because the movie says so.

So one night, Odd is walking home, which seems very dangerous because by now the whole town must know that with this guy there are no secrets, and even though this is a very small town, apparently it's the murder capital of the world. Anywho, he's walking home when he is accosted by a ghostly apparition of a bowling team. The whole team. This time, something is very wrong. Besides the fact that he talks to dead people because they are yelling at him. Dead people do not speak according to this book and this movie.

These people are soon-to-be-departed since obviously they are not dead yet. They also are able to lift him up and carry him around. This freaks him out. That must have been hard to do, considering that he sees dead people every day. They are faceless, but the bowling shirts are very obvious. So apparently in the afterlife, people get to dress like Charlie Sheen. Dammit.

So although the movie hasn't even gone 10 minutes, already they're breaking their own rules. These faceless bowling enthusiasts are trying to get Odd Thomas away from some sort of danger. However, as they are carrying him off, they are being shot, one by one. How do dead people get shot? Well, they're not dead yet. So what are they? Already, this movie has changed its rules and now we are just as clueless as apparently Odd is.

From here the movie starts sliding into the valley of incredible movie coincidences. Something is being set up, and now Odd must play detective to find out who this strange man is and why so many monsters are not only following him, but beginning to gather in this small but very violent town.

And, of course, since Odd is the star of the show, he manages to find clues and suspects that the police don't seem to be able to locate. That doesn't make the police look very competent. Willem Dafoe plays a detective, but takes a backseat to a 20-something fry cook who can follow dead people and monsters around.

The fact that all of these bodachs are now gathering in town, not following any one specific person, but showing up everywhere, tells Odd that something big is about to happen. He just doesn't know what yet. And he won't be finding out any time soon, because this movie is 100 freaking minutes long.

To save you, my dear readers, from a huge page of incredible coincidences coming together, let's sum up. The whole idea, was to have a massacre at a local shopping mall. This is a small town. Somehow they can support huge shopping mall? Oh well, if I looked for logic, this review would be a hell of a lot longer.

Still being in the realm of incredible coincidences, there is a slow reveal of the plot. Odd finds out that the bodachs have been pretending not to see him, but actually can. Apparently, they have not killed him thus far because they believe they can use him. Massive duh. Odd finds out that not only is one of the police officers involved in this plot, but apparently several are involved.

The plan is incredibly flawed however. They have a van full of explosives, how the hell did they get hold of that? This is post-9/11 time were talking about here. That many explosives being gathered would surely set off alarms in all kinds of different places with all kinds of different government departments.

This is their plan and I'm not kidding. The three cops, who apparently were in cahoots with the mold-head guy, are dressed in black gear, complete with Kevlar vests. They are wearing black masks. The idea is for them to first kill all mall security personnel, who conveniently all happen to be in one place, then use their automatic weapons to open fire on the food court at the mall. 

Because of recent events, this was a little uncomfortable to watch. After taking out as many people as they can, their plan was to go off somewhere private, strip down to their police uniforms, and come back out and somehow save the day from themselves. Okay, that's… stupid. Plus, if they're playing hero inside the mall, who is going to set off the explosives in the truck that is parked inside the parking garage?

This leaves Odd to not only stop these three trained police officers from killing people inside the mall, using only a pistol against automatic weapons, but then he must run to the garage and get the explosives away from the mall. All within the space of a minute or two. The officers, of course, get off quite a few shots before Odd takes them down. 

Apparently, the movie is telling us that they could not hear a small pistol being fired over the sound of their automatic weapons. Bodachs are there any huge quantities, just waiting for all the carnage, so they can??? It's never really established what the monsters are there for except to facilitate the death of those they showed up for. What do they do with these people or their spirits as the movie goes, afterwards? Dunno.

And, of course, since Odd is the major good guy in this movie, even though he is shot several times, he not only manages to take out the three trained gunmen, but get to the garage, hotwire the truck, and drive it out to a conveniently located culvert and let it explode, harmlessly spreading fire along the empty canal.

So Odd and his girlfriend, Stormy, spend the next several days doing what couples in love do. They dance, they laugh - well, he laughs anyway, they sleep in, watch movies, eat junk food, and generally just enjoy each other's company.

But you know, these movies cannot have happy endings. It's the law. There's a knock at the door. It's Willem Defoe, also getting over his injuries, at the door with his wife. They gently tell Odd that it's time. The audience gets clues that something is not right with the time Odd has spent with his girlfriend. She has not said one word. And, remember the rules for this movie. Yes, his girlfriend had been present at the mall and had been killed. They are telling Odd that her body has been released and the funeral is today.

The film did not do well. It says it has a 93 minute running time (pffft...), a budget of $27 million, and a whole butt load of legal problems. But its biggest problem was the amount that was so contrived. POD tattoos on the bad guys meant 'Prince Of Darkness'? Pfft... c'mon guys. Could you be ANY lamer? For me, P.O.D will ALWAYS mean the music group (Payable On Death)... yeah, that ages me, but so what?

Coming up... Disc Three of our Pure Terror Horror Movie Marathon... aren't you excited?