Genres: Drama, Horror,

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 1983

Runtime: 103 minutes

Studio: Paramount


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Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Hosted by:  Yahoo!
Starring: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom,
Anthony Zerbe

Directed by: David Cronenberg

Story: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective


Call me crazy but I never got to see this movie until now. Of all of
Cronenberg's movies, this was one I hadn't watch, or remembered. Maybe I
watched it when I was really young. Some of it did seem pretty familiar, so
maybe it's just been a long time. None the less, it's a good movie. King and
Cronenberg make a wonderful combination. With Stephen's stories and
David's direction, you can't go wrong. The Dead Zone is one of those movies
that I think was ahead of its time. Personally I also think it's unappreciated. I
call it a horror film, many fans out there consider this to be a horror film. But
it's not your traditional horror movie. Call if offbeat if you must, I call it nice.
Nice to where everything is bright, snowy and pleasing to the eye. It doesn't
look like a horror movie, which is one of the reasons why it works so well. Oh
and we can't forget about the scene with Frank Dodd and the scissors.
That's horrific on its own.

In the Dead Zone we follow a man named John Smith. Smith is a teacher who
is passionately in love with his girlfriend Sarah. One night while driving back
home Smith gets into a car accident, which leaves him in a coma for five
years. When Smith awakes from his coma he gains a psychic ability and has a
premonition that one of the nurses kids is in danger. The premonition turns
out to be real and Smith becomes the talk of the town. Fearing that he is no
longer able to live amongst the normal human being, Smith isolates himself
from the rest of the world. That is until John gets a visit from a cop who asks
for his help to find a local serial killer. Smith is resistant at first, but he
eventually gives in and decides to lend the police force a hand with his new

From the very start I was attached to the story. The Dead Zone is more of a
drama. You follow a man who goes through a series of emotions as he is
having to deal with loss and a supernatural power that drains his body. To
sum the entire movie up, the Dead Zone is about loss and death. Once John
Smith figures out that he could benefit from this power, he starts to help
others. He protects the ones he loves from dying by reading their fate. With
the option he has the choice of changing the future. That's where the movie
gets even more interesting. That concept alone is a reason why I would
highly recommend watching this movie. If YOU had the power to change
something, would you do it? Would you protect the ones you love? Would
you save the from political threats?

This movie raises so many questions that every comic book geek would hope
to answer themselves. You can easily put yourself in the shoes of John
Smith. He's a normal man, not an over the top character. He gets hurt and
he gets depressed. We simply just follow him through this roller coaster ride.
There is a catch to Smith's psychic ability however. The more he gets drawn
to it, the more he gets weak. In order to read someone's fate he has to
touch them. He can read the future and the past. He gets put into the
situations which is intense for him because it puts himself in harms way.
When he has a vision of a little girl trapped in a burning room, he is right
there on the bed telling the girl that everything will be alright. This is also
what separates The Dead Zone from most horror movies.

The movie then shifts into a political thriller when Smith has a vision that a
future political figure will be the cause of world war 3. The Dead Zone has a
lot of heart. David Cronenberg is a great director who has brought us some
gruesome and entertaining movies over the years. Christopher Walken is a
good actor - I just can't help but think that he acts the same way in all of his
movies. But that's what I love about him and his acting. Not to mention his
facial expressions show so much more emotion than dialog could ever hope
to accomplish. This is also due to Walken's approach to having David
Cronenberg fire a Magnum loaded with blanks off camera to make his
character's flinches seem more involuntary. It was Walken's own idea and it
works out great on film. Martin Sheen also does a terrific job as the politcal
candidate Greg Stillson.

Sheen's performance as Greg may seem a bit over the top, but really it's very
realistic. I've seen plenty of political figures act the same way. Sheen just
nails it perfectly. After watching The Dead Zone and going through all the
bonus features, I have a clear understand of the movie and the differences
between Stephen King's novel and David Cronenberg's film. The man is a
genius in his own right.  He took King's story and made it his own. Before
that David had directed movies that he wrote himself. So having the
opportunity to direct from someone else's script, it was great to see that he
did such a fine job. The movie is pretty different from the novel. That's his
style, he betrays the book to bring us a pleasurable viewing experience. At
the same time he shows no disrespect. He did the same thing with the Fly.
He made it different, and that's what I loved about it. The Dead Zone is a
unique viewing experience that you should not miss.

Overall: 8/10
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