The Dead Zone

Year: 1983

Production: Dino De Laurentiis / Lorimar

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Anthony Zerbe, Martin Sheen

Screenwriter: Jeffery Boam

Based on The Dead Zone (1979) by Stephen King

103 minutes; Color

Borderline-sf movie about John Smith (Walken), who has an accident, spends five years in a coma, and wakes to learn he has developed a psi power, precognition. The "dead zone" is a blank spot in his visions which may represent the possibility of the future being changed. The more Smith uses his powers, which he is loath to do because of the cargo of pain his visions often carry (and because they age him), the more cut off he becomes from ordinary humanity. He performs several minor miracles, solves an ugly murder mystery, and ultimately prevents WWIII by thwarting the election of a smooth, narcissistic politician (Sheen) who might otherwise, in the future, have plunged the world into holocaust. Cronenberg's least typical and most commercial work, perhaps because King's sprawling novel is a long way removed from the personal material he normally uses, The Dead Zone is nevertheless a good and powerful film, notably for its sad, insistent images of winter, correlating with Smith's retreat from life and also with the dead zone of the title. Walken's performance in the main role is admirably lost and icy.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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