Profoundly appealing in the melodramatic way, yet the events of narrative feel more like a series of random small fireworks leading up to a final larger firework, than akin to a grand finale, as the story often lacks a set path. Yet, it admirably has this feeling of suffocating dire ominousness, as one knows it won't end well for this well-meaning hero. Parts could be longer for anticipation/suspense reasons, too.
The plot is a bit all over the place but Walken is absolutely phenomenal and the ending is mind blowing and very clever. Cronenberg's is able to get the best out of the script and is also working with very good dialogue; it's very different from its horror stuff and maybe perhaps better in its drama. The winter setting and the music gives the whole a nice desperate vibe.
Cronenberg has a great sense of space and visual style. His films almost feel staged, but not in a bad way, almost in a sort of menacing, off-kilter style that makes it feel unsafe and doom-ridden. They carry around a feeling of something about to go horribly wrong, and they carry it through recognizably urban environments, only adding to that feeling of unease.
First half was solid but the final act was so ridiculous and laughable that looks more like a straight for TV movie than a Cronenberg classic. Walken and Sheen are alright though, but the dialogues are terrible and the plot twist about Sheen's role in future worldwide events seemed like a joke. I get the relevance given the time of its release but didn't work at all for me.
A strangely segmented film that does at least end on its highest note, The Dead Zone is about the least Cronenbergian Cronenberg that I have ever seen. Quite whether there is room for him to stamp his body horror mark on this story is doubtful, but it's still a strangely uninvolving and stop-start film that only really comes to life when Martin Sheen's bastard of a politician makes an appearance.
An odd direction for Cronenberg but a great re-telling of how overcoming trauma can be completely life changing & possibly the best of King's stories committed to celluloid other than The Mist. Walken is PERFECT. Genuine, emotional & at times disturbing, he plays Johnny with such gravitas that's it's hard to fathom if he's really acting with his interactions. Tom Skeritt also stands out as the sympathetic lawman. A.
***1/2. I remember well the cinema and the seat I sat on back in 1984 when I first saw this film and I could have sworn yesterday that The DEAD ZONE was a blockbuster filled with fury and colours. How wrong was I ! The DEAD ZONE is a piece of chamber music filmed in a snowy country with a Christopher WALKEN managing to persuade us that what's happening to him is just bad luck. Nothing else. Highly recommended.
I actually wanted to give two stars. One for Christopher Walken and one for Mr. Walkens hair. But at minute 84 I had to stop watching the movie, since its ridiculousness couldn't be washed over by a great actor any longer. Though I actually live Cronenberg, this movie didn't seem to work at all. Very wooden or too melodramatic acting by almost all the cast. Weird story lines. Overuse of dramatic music. Schade!
Already a Classic film...Maybe one of the best translation from a book to the celluloid of one S.K story and the first "non-visceral sci-fi" film from the canadian director...fitting perfectly in the "Psychic trilogy" together with "The Brood" and "Scanners". Great main roles for Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen. Curious at the same time that prophetic to see a Walken reciting fragments of "Sleepy Hollow"...