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The Dead Zone [DVD]
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After a horrific car crash, high school teacher Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) wakens from a five year coma with the ability to see into people s future. This extra sensory perception enables him to avert several impending disasters and earns him celebrity status. But those missing years have cost him his job and his fiancé and he longs for his former existence minus his new "gift". That is until he meets local politician and would-be Presidential candidate Greg Stillson (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.
* AUDIO COMMENTARY FROM FILM CRITICS STEPHEN JONES AND KIM NEWMAN.
The Dead Zone is based on the novel by Stephen King, directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly) and produced by Debra Hill (Halloween, The Fog). Such a trio of horror vets would be expected to come up with an evening of shocks and gore, but The Dead Zone is a surprise. While it has great atmospheric eeriness and undeniably scary moments, the movie is at heart a sensitive and thoughtful portrayal of main character's dilemma. Christopher Walken, king of the vaguely creepy, plays Johnny Smith, a man who awakens from a five-year coma with the very mixed blessing of second sight. At the mere touch of a hand, Smith is unwillingly launched into scenes of past and future terror. (Director Cronenberg is said to have fired blanks from a .357 Magnum just out of camera range to keep Walken's flinching spontaneous.) The Dead Zone wisely takes its time telling the story, and thus allows for some great performances. Walken gives a rich portrayal of the conflicted Smith, and Colleen Dewhurst and Tom Skerritt both do welcome turns in smaller roles. The most fun of all, though, is clearly had by Martin Sheen, who gives a spirited performance as a complete sleazebag. --Ali Davis, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
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.
Johnny first comes to terms with his power when he agrees to help the police discover the identity of an elusive serial killer walking the streets of Castle Rock (which, for some strange reason, is supposedly located in New Hampshire rather than Maine).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recall seeing Dead Zone when it was first released at the cinema. I really enjoyed it then and now re-seeing it some 33 years later it still holds the attention as it did... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Mr. G. Bridgeman
I could never understand how this film has so many fans. To me it was and is one of my least favourite Stephen King adaptions. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Austin haigh
Great film, but I've knocked off two stars as the Lovefilm disc I received had NO subtitles. I'm hearing impaired and struggled to hear much of the dialogue (esp bad in some older... Read morePublished 4 months ago by DasLandei
Arrived when said, again another oldie but goodie from Stephen King.Published 4 months ago by Sarah
Great film from the Maestro with terrific performances from Walken et al. They say bad novels make good films and this is no exception. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dan Smith