on 15 May 2006
It's been a while since I saw this last but I agree it is one of Kings best adaptations along with Misery - so often he gets a raw deal TV movie slant or a moment of fame in Hollywood only to return to being uncool again, for want of a better word.
Christopher Walken is a fine, solid actor and he really works in this film alongside Martin Sheen, giving it a kind of cult classic status. I feel this is even better than The Shinning in my personal opinion.
The story for those unaware is political, eerie, bit romantic as in love and loss. It's about sacrifice, greed, desire - really adult themes. Considering it's age it's still a great film and I'm just glad in a way nobody has remade it.
on 1 April 2004
When it was released in 1983, many people thought 'The Dead Zone' was a sell-out for director David Cronenberg. Up until that point Cronenberg had stayed faithful to his auteur vision, writing and directing all his own films in Canada, each one with a strong concentration on original and spectacular special effects (usually based around the body). 'The Dead Zone' proved to be unusual for Cronenberg in that he didn't write the script, it was made in the U.S. with mostly American money and it doesn't feature his trademark gorey effects. In fact this film is the inverse of the usual Cronenbergian theme of the body rebelling against the mind. As Christopher Walken's visions become more and more intense, his body ages faster and he moves closer and closer to death.
Instead of spine-chilling special effects, most of the terror here is realized through the stength of the actors' performances. Compared to previous Cronenberg movies the acting here is more interior, more emotional and a deep sense of melancholia prevades throughout.
This may have been a conscious choice on behalf of the director whose previous movie 'Videodrome' wasn't such a success at the box office. He wanted to stay within the horror genre he knew but wished to reach a wider audience. What better way to do that than to adapt a story by the self-styled 'Big Mac of literature', Stephen King. Many regard 'The Dead Zone' as the finest cinematic adaption of a Stephen King story.
Oh and by the way, did anyone notice that at the beginning of the movie when Walken is teaching his English class he asks them to read 'The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow'? He would eventually play the headless horseman in Tim Burton's version of the tale.
In my view, Stephen King's early works have always been his best.And yet, most of them have suffered from poor translations to film.This film bucks that trend thankfully.
The acting talent here is pretty good.Christopher Walken is always watchable in anything he is in (Deer Hunter and Sleepy Hollow to name just two!)and he does a fine job of making Johnny seem vulnerable, frustrated and ultimately driven to do what he knows he HAS to do.Martin Sheen is good as well.He plays the part of a fervent,and slightly crazed, power hungry politician.Herbert Lom is excellent as Johnny's doctor.Tom Skerritt gets a brief appearance too, and is also believable.
The plot is good too and the pacing of the film is spot on.There are definite chapters within the film and there is real development in all of these scenes.I won't spoil the plot, but i can say that all this is a 'horror film' it isn't overly gory or horrific.It is quite thoughtful and poses some interesting moral questions.
For those of you have read the book, this follows the plot pretty well, but doesn't go into the same amount of depth, and some reviewers have criticised this - i disagree with that view.To me, the film has been paced correctly and has edited out the things that are not vitally important.If you haven't read the book, i would really recommend it - it is one of Stephen King's best in my view, and doesn't always get the recognition it deserves.
This dvd is a brilliant buy in my opinion for a number of reasons - good acting talent, good plot and pacing AND the price is perfect too!
Treat yourself to this - fans of Stephen King will love it, and people who like something a bit different will enjoy it too!
Johnny Smith is a perfectly happy man, a great job in education and a loving and beautiful partner. One blizzard strewn night he is involved in a car accident and lays in a coma for five years, upon waking he finds that he has psychic abilities. His one time love of his life is now married with a child and as Johnny tries to come to terms with that and also his new found ability, he's hurtling towards confrontations with monsters that literally could have consequences for mankind.
Director David Cronenberg's first dip into in the waters of mainstream cinema, gone is the weirdness and goo sodden traits, in their place comes a great adaptation of a wonderful novel, and a triple pronged sword culminating in a shatteringly brilliant ending. Amazing that some Cronenberg fans missed a trick by pouring scorn on this picture during its original release, for the theme of alienation figures heavy in the piece and Cronenberg, coupled with a brilliant Christopher Walken performance (as Smith), has crafted a most excellent piece of dramatic cinema.
It would be outrageous, and wrong, of me to over tell of the monsters and inner turmoil that Johnny Smith confronts, suffice to say here is a picture that if you haven't seen before then you really need to stay clear of any potential spoilers. The plot summary is in place for all to read, you just need to sit back and enjoy the serial killer strand in the piece, and in this day and age of political monsters, get involved with the excellently Stephen King written political finale that impacts royally the more the years roll by. Backing up the wonderful Walken is the under praised Brooke Adams (as love interest Sarah), Herbert Lom, Tom Skerritt, Anthony Zerbe and a very memorable weasel turn from Martin Sheen, all of whom excel at being given meat to chew on from Cronenberg.
Great story, great cast and very astute direction, so what you waiting for? A hauntingly wonderful 9/10 from me.
on 19 February 2012
The movie is made from a story written by Stephen King and the film is remarkably successful. Christopher Walken is a very special actor who played this part with perfection.
The commentary is entertaining but could have been more about the film than the stories about making the film (which could have been separate) BUT great fun to watch and was still surprising to watch.
on 16 July 2007
David Cronenberg directs the Stephen King novel about a man who awakes from a coma with a life draining ability to see future tragedies when making contact with people. He also finds he can change these morbid outcomes. The screenplay (not written by Cronenberg or King) remains the films only real flaw besides some questionable supporting cast members. The novel is not a book that would make a perfect story to tell on film so the screenplay sort of stays in the shallow end and spits forth each episode that our hero Johnny Smith expereinces one at a time and without the level of understanding and depth King's book has. That is not to say The Dead Zone isn't a good movie. It's actually a very good movie.
The film remains a semi-classic in the suspense genre. Cronenberg has a way of handling scenes that is very European despite lacking the technical skills of his peers. He can give the actors very specific emotional direction and tell so much with using little or no dialogue. This helps the screenplay because it only offers some flashes of great dialogue. Cronenberg loves taking on films that lack certain aspects and giving them depth in places you never thought could have it. He is a unique force in independant films and earns his stars among the mainstream fans with this film. Martin Sheen surprisingly gives a solid performance here as well. He plays a crooked politician bent on gaining the presidency and earns our hatred quickly. He is actually quite remarkable here.
O.K., now it's time to play favorites. Johnny Smith is played by one of the most identifiable actors of all time. The greatest character and supporting acting of all time in my eyes and here we see him in a rare feature role. He is Christopher Walken and with all the imitations of his wild talk and bizarre off-screen shenanigans aside, he is quite simply an amazing actor. He takes his role very seriously here and turns the film from mediocrity into a very good movie. He takes the character for what readers may have loved about him and that is that he is your every day guy who happened upon some very usual and at times deeply sad circumstances...it just wasn't in the cards or it wasn't meant to be like Smith's Doctor felt. For those who read the novel you'll see subtle references to some of the more robust thinking in the story but never quite enough. There is an underlying message in the film that I really wish wasn't somewhat lost among the communication of the screenplay and the direction. King's novel touches on these things tremendously well and makes us question fate and wonder if time and death is really just so one-dimensional. The film makes you think if you want it to, but not like the novel which is truly one of King's greatest. I honestly believe Walken may have been the only guy on the set who understood this about the story.
If you are looking for a film full of suspense and several exciting climaxes and you like Christopher Walken, then I highly recommend The Dead Zone...but keep in mind that so few King novels have been done real justice with a film and where this is probably not one of them it remains a very good movie. It isn't quite Carrie or The Shining but it is still very good.
on 11 January 2002
Surely the most satisfying of all Stephen King's film adaptations, The Dead Zone finds both writer(King) and Director David Cronenberg in excellent form. Johnny Smith(Chris Walken) wakes up from a 5 year coma to find that by touching someone he can see visions of their past, present and future.
Hounded by the press and forced into hiding, he finds himself thrown into the path of Greg Stilson(Marty Sheen) who is running for president. Smith's vision of Stilson's and the world's future, as he gets to shake his hand at a political rally, provokes the life changing question for us all; "if you lived in Germany in 1939 and knowing what you know now of what Hitler would become, what would you do... would you kill him?"
This tense and beautifully acted forgotten masterpiece is worthy of anyone's collection and warrants repeated viewing in an attempt to unravel the many inter-woven texts.
on 7 November 2013
Boy, I Just found this Gem, while browsing my TV Channels, thought I would give it a look, Roll drum please! First its a De-laurentiis Film, Then Director, comes up, David Cronenberg, But this is no Millennium Movie,its a classic from 1983 That I never new existed. Penned from A Stephen King novel, it had me riveted to my sofa from beginning to end.
Have to admit to be a Big Christopher Walken fan, he must have been almost starting to shoot, "A View to A Kill" for its release in 1985, or was up for the bad guy, by the producers, in a short list of hopefuls maybe.
Despite some mis-givings by reviewers, who go by the novel, (I mean, a lot of Ian Flemings original Bond books by Pan books, that were made into 007 films hardly resemble the Novel in a lot of places,) so comparing The Novel with a screenplay version, is a bit unkind I think.
We also Find Anthony Zerbe, so amazingly young in this, he was the renegade Star Trek admiral, whatever, from "Insurrection", he also played, an elder in The matrix revolutions.
We dont stop there, we have the stunning Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt as a Sheriff, and Martin Sheen does a disturbing take of an up and coming power hungry candidate , for president Elect, and his vision is a shocking one, that only Walken can see.
That's all Im going to tell you, because if your a ghost whisperer fan, or even slightly an X files paranormal fan, this gem will blow you away. I ordered My DVD on Amazon Right this minute, cos its one film that has to go into my collection. It is R rated 18, It has some very brief nudity, and some Hammer film ketchup set pieces. Dont be fooled, its one of those films, that genuinely. makes you forget your cuppa tea or the cat wanting to go it. 5*****
on 22 June 2013
Five stars for gripping horror / drama.
Based on the Stephen King novel, this film is one of my all time favourites. Christopher Walken gives a brilliantly moving portrayal of a man (Johnny Smith) who loses 5 years of his life to a coma and wakes in a specialist institute to discover he's gained psychic powers but lost his fiancée to another man.
I first saw this film in the eighties and Walken's acting skills blew me away; he gets so deep into the character's experiences that I feel what he was going through; the moment he discovers he's lost his girl, the fear, frustration and anger he feels about the power he's gained, the cruel media guy who calls him a freak which results in the death of his mum, the way his now married ex turns up, uses him and 'discards' him again (boy was I angry with her for treating him so mean), Walken's relationship with his screen parents which is incredibly moving and personal - I can't watch this film without my heart breaking for Johnny Smith.
Add to that sterling performances from the actors who play his parents, Tom Skerrit as the desperate sheriff trying to solve a speight of sex murders, Herbet Lom as his concerned, compassionate doctor and Martin Sheen as the dangerously ambitious wannabe senator - result - incredibly entertaining and heart wrenching film. I've watched it more times than I've had hot dinners. It never bores - and I always cry my heart out. IMO a must have for one's DVD collection.
Recommended to anyone who enjoys anything to do with the occult / a gripping story.
on 27 April 2012
(THE FILM)Christopher Walken stars as high school teacher Johnny Smith, a car crash victim who emerges from a 5 year coma with the ability to see into people's future. Consequently this extra sensory perception enables Johnny to avert several potential disasters and earns him a degree of local celebrity. After his 5 missing years however Johnny has lost both his job and his fiancee and he longs for his former existence minus his new 'gift'. That is until he meets with local politicians and would-be Presidential candidate Greg Still son (Martin Sheen) and sees future-events of genuinely cataclysmic proportions. It is only then that Johnny must come to terms with his powers, his conscience, and his destiny...
WHAT CAN I SAY?
In his mind, he has the power to see the future. In his hands, he has the power to change it.
This is a great great film, christopher walken shines in this wonderful, creepy sad tale..It's a story of one unlucky man who has the misfortune of being given one of the greatest gifts, to see the future. The gift can give you God-like power and puts you in a situation where you must be big decisions.
but not all is good ..?
can he save the world .??
or will he do nothing..???
This is a powerful, unforgettable film, whether you consider it a mystery, a horror-thriller or a tragic love story. It is a Brilliant atmospheric and frightening thriller with a superb performance from Christopher Walken.it has an incredible supporting cast . Martin Sheen, Anthony Zerbe and Tom Skerritt and Herbert Lom and the lovely Brooke Adams are all exceptional
((The Dead Zone )) is not just a great film by Cronenberg. it is also One of the very best Steven King adaptations.