The Dead Zone
Release Year: 1983
Director: David Cronenberg
Writers: Jeffrey Boam (screenplay), Stephen King (based on his 1979 novel The Dead Zone)
Starring: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Martin Sheen, Nicholas Campbell, Anthony Zerbe, Colleen Dewhurst, Sean Sullivan, Jackie Burroughs, Simon Craig
Rating: Winner of 1 Saturn Award: Best Horror Film. Nominated for 3 Saturn Awards: Best Director, Best Actor (Christopher Walken), Best Writing.
Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) wakes up from a coma and discovers that he has a psychic ability.
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of The Dead Zone was one of three major Stephen King adaptations to be released in 1983 (the others being John Carpenter’s Christine and Lewis Teague’s Cujo) and arguably the best of the three. Cronenberg has put together great supernatural thriller interspersed with flashes of horror. Walken (Sleepy Hollow, 1999) is great as the kind-heartened but otherwise ordinary English teacher who is finds his life falling apart after a car accident. He awakes after 5 years in a coma and finds his fiancée married to someone else and begins to experiences painful flashes of premonition. At first he tries to shy away from this ability, wishing to be left alone to find his footing in his new life, but a gruesome murder case convinces him that his abilities might not be a curse but a blessing. The story stays with Smith throughout, it moves in a steady pace and culminates in a well executed climax that is both thrilling and emotionally satisfying. Of the supporting cast, Sheen (Badlands, 1973) is good as the populist third party candidate that crosses Smith’s path, and Herbert Lom (Spartacus 1960) is particularly good as Dr. Weizak. A very good and often overlooked Stephen King adaptation. Highly recommended.
The Dead Zone was the first of a number of novels and novellas by Stephen King set in the fictional Maine town Castle Rock, other include Cujo (1983), Stand by Me (1986) – although the movie’s setting in moved to Oregon, The Dark Half (1993), and Needful Things (1993).
If you want to watch the movie yourself, click image below to purchase:
Picture Copyright: Scanbox