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Paramount Valu-dead Zone [dvd]
Paramount Valu-dead Zone
Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 09/15/2009 Rating: R


Movie Details

Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

A brilliant, underappreciated adaptation of King's novel
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For some reason, The Dead Zone has always been one of my least favorite Stephen King novels, but I have to say this movie adaptation of the novel is first-rate indeed, one of the most underappreciated of all the movies based on the work of the king of horror. The film's success is due in large part to Christopher Walken; with a less capable actor filling the role of Johnny Smith, this movie could have turned out as flat as a pancake. Walken, the consummate actor, is mesmerizing here. It's a complex role to play, as Johnny Smith has not exactly been blessed by the kind hands of fate. When we first meet him, he is a happy English teacher preparing to marry the woman he loves; a stormy night and a runaway milk tanker later, he wakes up to find that five years have passed, his girl has married someone else, and he is all but incapable of even walking. If you think this is a film about eliminating a politician of great and destructive evil, you're not even half-right. While that is of course the focus of the concluding minutes, the movie itself is all about Johnny's struggles to come to terms with his new life, a new life which includes a frightening power to see into the past and future of those whom he physically touches. The first manifestation comes in handy, as he helps save a nurse's little girl from dying in a fire, but traumatic, soul-draining visions of horror take a lot out of a guy as time moves on. 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). This experience only makes him retreat farther into himself, compelling him to move to another town and try to begin a new life within the comfort of his own protective walls. A traumatic vision concerning one of the students he is tutoring leads him to discover a new aspect of his power, and this discovery comes just in time for him to make a difficult decision as to whether or not to sacrifice his own life in order to prevent a truly cataclysmic event from taking place in the future.David Cronenberg directs this bleak but absorbing film, but don't expect the kind of gore Cronenberg is famous for, as this is not a gore-mired film by any means (although the deaths we do witness are pretty satisfyingly presented). The Dead Zone is a psychological study of human nature and a suspenseful thriller, not a horror movie per se. Martin Sheen leaves an unforgettable mark on the film with his portrayal of as slimy and dangerous a politician as you would ever want to meet (and, as a side note, impersonating Elvis Presley's voice apparently goes over big among New England voters for some reason). A lot of care and detail went into the making of The Dead Zone, and it shows. The atmosphere is dark and palpable from start to finish, and Christopher Walken commands the viewer's rapt attention at all times. There are a number of very moving scenes, particularly in relation to Johnny's new relationship with his former fiancée, so don't be surprised if Walken coaxes a tear or two out of the corners of your eyes. Many of the early movies based on King novels did not translate to the big screen very effectively, but The Dead Zone is an often overlooked and very impressive exception."
Dead Zone finally delivers dead-on King adaptation
Daniel Jolley | 07/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Dead Zone is the finest movie adaptation of a Stephen King novel because it captures perfectly the essence of true terror: the haunts of the past mixed with the unpredictability of the future. Christopher Walken captures this concoction and presents a dead-on performance as a man who awakens from a lengthy coma to discover he has the gift(or curse)of not only being able to predict the future but to change it. The Dead Zone works so well because most of it takes place in a small town atmosphere, which gives the characters the opportunity to fully develop. It also helps to have a first-rate supporting cast with the likes of accomplished actors such as Anthony Zerbe, Tom Skeritt, and Martin Sheen among many others. And since the tone of the film is largely grim, most of the scenes are shot appropriately in winter(with minimalist surroundings and less emphasis on special effects). But all told, it's just great to see a King adaptation that doesn't center around one gory fright after another, but instead presents the frightening unpredictability of the human soul in stark (almost Orwellian) terms."
Cronenberg's top notch film of King's novel gets even better
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First the important stuff out of the way. If you've seen this movie you know what it's about and already have probably owned it on DVD. So what's different here? Well the transfer is a marked improvement with a sharp looking anamorphic higher definition transfer of the film. It'll look extremely good on 16x9 widescreen TV's and even on more conventional (although not quite with as much a difference)TV's. The previous edition of the film was practically bare bones. This edition lacks a commentary from David Cronenberg (which is a pity as he's always entertaining in his commentary tracks) but comes with four terrific featurettes. The first "Memories from The Dead Zone" features new interviews with Cronenberg, King expert Douglas Winter, film editor Ronald Sanders and actress Brooke Adams. discussing how they got involved in the film and when they realized what a terrific film they were truly making. "The Look of The Dead Zone" focuses on the cinematographer by Mark Irwin and features an interview with him. "Visions and Horror From The Dead Zone" again has many participants from the original production and "The Politics of The Dead Zone" also features a vintage interview with Sheen discussing the film. Unfortunately Christopher Walken is curiously MIA but everyone else does make up for the actor's absence with insightful comments on the film and why it continues to resonate. I don't think the TV series would have taken off as well as it did if Cronenberg and Boam hadn't made such a terrific movie in the first place.

The film looks good and while there are some mild digital artifacts that occasionally mar the picture the film hasn't ever looked this good on home video. Definitely worth the upgrade for that by itself.

What follows are two paragraphs about the making of the film and the plot but if you've seen it you probably know this stuff and can skip the rest.

After doing "Videodrome" David Cronenberg was looking for a film where he didn't have to write the project. He was exhausted from the involvement of that cult classic. When he met the late Debra Hill (via their mutual friend and Hill's long time collaborator John Carpenter) the late Jeffrey Boam ("Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade", co-creator/writer/producer of "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.") had penned a terrific script that perfectly captured the feeling of King's book (Cronenberg comments in one of the extras that the best way to "remain faithful to the book is to betray it...because you're dealing with two completely different mediums" and one can see his point).

The late Michael Kamen's wonderful score sounds terrific here (I would have loved an isolated score to appreciate the music that much more but perhaps in the next incarnation of the film). The cold, icy look of the film is nicely realized in this sharp looking transfer. The film does show its age but looks quite good overall.

Highly recommended.

**Spoilers ahead**

Johnny Smith (Walken) seems to have it all--he loves teaching the kids at his school and is engaged to be married to another teacher (Adams). The future dims for Smith when he's in a horrible car accident and a subsequent coma for 5 years. The world has moved on but Johnny hasn't. When he awakens from his coma he finds he has the ability of "second sight", i.e., he can see the possible future and past just by touching people or items they've handled. The police pull him into an investigation of a serial killer and he gains a bit of fame from it but that second sight shows him a potential disaster-- Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen in a terrific polar opposite performance to his later one as the President in "The West Wing"). Stillson isn't just dangerous but evil. Smith sees that Stillson will initiate a nuclear holocaust. Johnny knows he's the only one that can stop him.

The Best Movie Adaption of a Stephen King Novel
The JuRK | Our Vast, Cultural Desert | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I loved this movie for a lot of reasons:

One, Christopher Walken gets to play a very sympathetic character and really makes it work. Even when Walken is playing a total maniac, you still like the guy.

Two, this is probably the best adaption of a Stephen King book to hit the screen. 'SALEM'S LOT was a TV movie that looked like a TV movie, and THE SHINING was the best-looking but least-scariest horror film ever. The rest are just a mess. Ironically, the worst screenplay adaption was, in my opinion, done by Mr. King himself: PET SEMETARY was an ugly hack job of one of his finest novels!

Three, Director David Cronenberg did a great job directing (and probably restraining himself!). By having Johnny Smith's visions hit him in violent jump-cuts instead of the dream-like pages of the novel, the movie really gives a visual edge to the dead zones.

Four, the rest of the cast is fun to watch, from Herbert Lom to Tom Skerritt to Anthony Zerbe.

And Five, the maniacal would-be president played by a frothing Martin Sheen is probably closer to his real personality than the one he plays on "The West Wing.""