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The Dead Zone

By Ali Davis

The Dead Zone is based on a 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 Dead Zone is at heart a sensitive and thoughtful portrayal of main character Johnny Smith's dilemma. Christopher Walken, king of the vaguely creepy, plays 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 being had by Martin Sheen, who gives a spirited performance as a complete sleazebag.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: David Cronenberg

Stars: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Anthony Zerbe, Colleen Dewhurst, Martin Sheen, Nicholas Campbell, Jackie Burroughs

Released: October 21, 1983

Availability: DVD VHS


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