THE BEST FILM EVER ADAPTED FROM A STEPHEN KING NOVEL
John Watts | NYC, USA | 08/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE DEAD ZONE, DIRECTED BY DAVID CRONENBERG, IS AN EXCELLENT HORROR FILM WITH AN EXCELLENT CAST AND GREAT PACING. THE MUSICAL SCORE WAS EERIE AND ALLURING AND HAD A SENSE OF SYMMETRY AND POETRY ABOUT IT. THE STORY ITSELF WAS A HAUNTING STORY WITHIN A HAUNTING STORY WITHIN A HAUNTING STORY, BY WAY OF INTERESTING AND CREEPY SUBPLOTS AND MYSTERIOUS CHARACTERS WITH INTERESTING BACKGROUNDS. EVEN THE SECONDARY CHARCATERS WERE VERY INTERESTING AND COMPELLING.
THE DEAD ZONE HAD PLENTY OF DEPTH TO KEEP VIEWERS INTERESTED. IT NEVER GOT BORING. THE SPECIAL EFFECTS WERE IMPRESSIVE AND NEATLY DONE. I PREFER THE OLD FASHIONED SPECIAL EFFECTS, COMPARED TO THE COMPUTER GENERATED EFFECTS OF TODAY. WHAT FILMMAKERS ACCOMPLISHED YEARS AGO WITH EFFECTS WERE ALOT MORE REALISTIC IN MY MIND THAN THE ANIMATED COMPUTER EFFETCS NOW IN VOGUE. YOU CANNOT REPLACE STUNT PEOPLE AND MAKE-UP ARTISTS AND OTHER CRAFTSMEN WITH COMPUTERS.
I'M A FAN OF DAVID CRONENBERG'S FILMS, SO I'M BIASED. HOWEVER, THE DEAD ZONE HAS SO MANY MERITS THAT IT IS DESERVING OF BEING CONSIDERED A CLASSIC PARANORMAL FILM. CRONENBERG'S ATTENTION TO DETAIL CLEARLY SHOWED IN THIS FILM. THE LIGHTING IN EACH SCENE WAS EXCEPTIONAL AND HELPED TO SET THE TONE AND MOOD OF THE STORY AS IT PROGRESSED. EVERY MINUTE OF THIS FILM WAS INTENSLY INTERESTING. THE CAMERA ANGLES, THE DIALOG, THE ACTING, CRONENBERG GOT THE MOST OUT OF EVERYTHING. THIS WAS CHRISTOPHER WALKEN'S BEST FILM IN MY VIEW, BY THE WAY.
THE LAST SCENE IN THE STORY, WHERE WALKEN IS SHOT AS HE ATTEMPTS TO ASSASINATE MARTIN SHEEN, WAS FILMED WITH PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO DETAIL BY CRONENBERG. THE CAMERA ANGLE ON WALKEN SHOWS A CEILING LIGHT FIXTURE BEHIND AND ABOVE WALKEN. AS WALKEN IS SHOT BY SHEEN'S BODYGUARD, IT APPEARS AS THOUGH THE BULLET PASSES THROUGH WALKEN'S BODY AND HITS THE LIGHT FIXTURE, DESTROYING IT. EFFECTS LIKE THIS ARE OFTEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED OR OVERLOOKED, BUT NOT BY ME.
IT'S VERY INTERESTING HOW REALISM CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED. FUTURE FILMMAKERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE. STUDY DAVID CRONENBERG'S FILMS. HE IS A VISIONARY TYPE OF STORY TELLER. I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE BUT I EXPECT THAT ALL OF HIS FILMS ARE PROBABLY STORYBOARDED TO THE EXACT DETAILS OF THE SHOOTING SCRIPTS.
ON THIS DVD, IN PARTICULAR, I APPRECIATED THE MANY FEATURETTES ADDED TO THE FILM. THE DOCUMENTARY TIDBITS AND INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF THE CAST AND CREW AND CRONENBERG HIMSELF MADE THE PURCHASE OF THIS DVD ALL THE MORE WORTHWHILE. TAKE A LOOK AT THE CAST OF THIS FILM: CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, BROOKE ADAMS, ANTHONY ZERBE, TOM SKERRITT, COLLEEN DEWHURST, THE GREAT HERBERT LOM, MARTIN SHEEN, ETC. WHAT A FOUNDATION FOR A MEMORABLE CAST.
A HIGHLY POIGNANT FILM MADE MORE SO BY CHRISTOPHER WALKEN'S PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES, WHICH WERE DEPICTED SO EERILY ONLY ADDED MORE INTRIGUE TO THE PLOT. HOW INTERESTING IT WAS TO SEE WALKEN'S PSYCHIC POWERS PROPELLING HIM INTO ALTERNATE REALITIES SUCH AS THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. IT MADE ME THINK OF THE CONCEPT OF REMOTE VIEWING, ASTRAL TRAVEL AND PSYCHIC SPIES. VERY FASCINATING.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO FILMS WITH THEMES LIKE THE DEAD ZONE EVER SINCE I WAS A KID AND HAVE HAD PSYCHIC PREMONITIONS MYSELF, LIKE THE TERRIFYING ONES THAT PLAGUED ME PRIOR TO 9-11. IMAGINE HAVING RECURRING, PRECISE AND DETAILED VISUAL AND MENTAL PREMONITIONS ABOUT HIJACKED JETS CRASHING INTO THE TWIN TOWERS MANY MONTHS BEFORE THE TRAGEDY? NIGHTMARISH.
I TRULY THINK THERE ARE REAL TWILIGHT ZONES AND DEAD ZONES IN THIS UNIVERSE OF OURS, WHETHER WE LIKE THEM OR NOT. FOR SOME PEOPLE, PSYCHIC POWERS ARE CONSIDERED A UNIQUE GIFT. BUT FOR SOME, IT CAN BE LOOKED UPON AS A CURSE. AND FOR OTHERS, IT IS BOTH A GIFT AND A CURSE, AS IT WAS FOR CHRISTOPHER WALKEN IN THIS STORY."
Intelligent Horror Movie
Susan K. Schoonover | Boulder, CO | 08/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film adaptation of THE DEAD ZONE strays quite a bit from Stephen King's original novel. The movie version is an excellent film that actually expands on some timeless themes King introduced while trimming some of the book's less important characters and plot points. Both book and film are basically about nice guy Johnny Smith. At the beginning of the story Johnny is a straight laced young English teacher in love with a pretty girl and looking forward to a happy ordinary life. A tragic accident (car crash in both movie and film but quite different details) puts him in a coma for five years and when he miraculously recovers he finds his sweet girlfriend is now married and a mother and he has been "gifted" with a strange psychic ability that lets him see the most traumatic scenes of people's pasts and futures.
Christopher Walken is close to perfect in creating the character of Johnny. We sympathize with him as he encounters the problems that come with recovering from years in a hospital bed and with being burdened with such a scary and important psychic "gift". Early in the film Johnny, saves a girl from death by fire, identifies a serial killer, prevents a young boy from drowning and is able to tell his own doctor that the doctor's mother who was presumably killed in World War II is alive and well all thanks to his special abilities. Late in the film he has a vision that leads him to ask others "What would you do if you could go back in time and kill Hitler before the Holocaust and World War II happened?" It is his answer to this question of the ability to stop evil that leads to the unforgettable climax and resolution of the plot.
The movie though presumably set in Maine was filmed in Canada mostly during the winter season and the frozen landscapes perfectly match the movie's often dark mood. The soundtrack is also noteworthy as it expertly captures the film's nightmarish qualities. There are several bloody scenes and the serial killer material is particularly disturbing so a caution to the very squeamish. Still this is so much better than most films of the horror genre and actually raises some interesting questions in the audience's minds.