Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 21st October 1983
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Lorimar Film Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: David Cronenberg
Producer: Debra Hill
Screenwriter: Jeffrey Boam
Starring: Christopher Walken as Johnny Smith, Brooke Adams as Sarah Bracknell, Tom Skerritt as Sheriff George Bannerman, Martin Sheen as Greg Stillson, Herbert Lom as Dr. Sam Weizak, Anthony Zerbe as Roger Stuart, Colleen Dewhurst as Henrietta Dodd, Nicholas Campbell as Frank Dodd, William B. Davis as Ambulance Driver, Ramón Estévez as Teenage Boy with Camera, Sean Sullivan as Herb Smith, Jackie Burroughs as Vera Smith, Géza Kovács as Sonny Elliman, Roberta Weiss as Alma Frechette, Peter Dvorsky as Dardis, Barry Flatman as Walt, Cindy Hinds as Natalie, David Rigby as Truck Driver, Helene Udy as Weizak's Mother
Walken stars as high school teacher Johnny Smith, who wrecks his Beetle and spends five years in a coma, only to discover he now has the gift of second sight. Predicting local tragedies is one thing, but eventually he becomes entangled in a political race (with Martin Sheen running for President), and Johnny foresees that if he wins, disaster will ensue (you know, the nuclear kind).
David Cronenberg's direction -- his first mainstream job, after Videodrome -- is apt and creepy, though the story never really goes as far as it could have. Still, it's a creepy little mystery, especially for a King flick.
The Dead Zone gets a curious upgrade with a new DVD release from Sanctuary Visual Entertainment (though I don't know where you can actually buy it). The film is restored and uncut, and it also provides a commentary track from a couple of film critic types, debating the merits of the movie. It's kind of like sitting around with a couple of your film snob pals, listening to them drone on and on about some obscure Japanimation production (which, if you're me, happens far more often than you'd think).