What would you do if you had the power to see the future? If it looked ominous, would you try to change it? This is the theme that The Dead Zone explores in a way that is both simple and profound. The film is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name which was written in 1979. It was King's first book to reach number one of the bestseller list.
The Dead Zone's success is attributed to a great performance by iconic actor Christopher Walken [Sleepy Hollow, The Prophecy] who plays Johnny Smith, you're average guy who awakens from a coma to discover he has psychic abilities. Walked is in the capable hands of director David Cronenberg [Videodrome, Scanners] who shows remarkable restraint with The Dead Zone. While I love the crazy images he often brings to the screen, he handles with film with a subtle but powerful tough. It's a bit of a slow burner in terms of action, but the film keeps building suspense until the final scene.
Other notable performances include Martin Sheen who plays the slightly crazed, power hungry politician Greg Stillson to perfection. Has sSheen ever made a film he wasn't good in? None come to mind! Brooke Adams is sweet and radiant as Walker's spurned love interest, Sarah. She brings a warmth to the role that gives the film lots of heart and helps to bring our Walken's tender side. [Yes, he has one!] There are also fine performances from a bevy of classic character actors including Tom Skerritt, Anthony Zerbe and Colleen Dewhurst.
The Dead Zone is one of those Sunday afternoon movies that you simply can't stop watching. It draws you in and keeps your interest form start to finish. If you like lots of action, you might get a little bored but if you ponder the questions this film asks, your viewing experience will be greatly rewarded.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.