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2,027 Ratings

The Dead Zone

Directed by David Cronenberg
United States, 1983
Sci-Fi, Thriller


After five years in a coma following a car crash, schoolteacher Johnny Smith discovers he has the gift of second sight, and is able to prevent several fatal accidents. However, every time he uses this power, he becomes closer to death himself.

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The Dead Zone Directed by David Cronenberg

Critics reviews

The Dead Zone functions better in its first half, as a dreamlike collage of terrible events happening below the surface of atmospherically wintry New England, than in its political thriller second part, which feels like stale seventies-era leftovers, Parallax View-style. (Though its what-would-you-do assassination scenario comes across as less egregiously show-offy than in the recent, also bifurcated Looper.)
October 15, 2012
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What are people saying?

  • chanandre's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    Did Stephen King invent some 35 years ago the TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) term? W o W. Sheen's Stillson looks like an insane cross between Trump and Jong-un -> s c a r y. (So nice to see "Days of Heaven" Brooke Adams: those eyes are oh so sad and nostalgic).

  • Addy K.'s rating of the film The Dead Zone

    The quiet suffering of Walken's Johnny Smith (Stephen King always has fun with names) is established without melodrama. Waking up after five years in coma, he asks about his lover. His religious mother responds simply: "She left you for someone else, Johnny". There's a no-bullshit directness to how information is revealed. Which is germane to Cronenberg's filmmaking style that places a very high value on credibility.

  • msmichel's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    After the early body horror films culminating in 'Scanners' and 'Videodrome' this adaptation of the Stephen King novel heralded a move into the mainstream for Cronenberg and yielded rich rewards. Walken was perfectly cast as 'Johnny Smith' and by scaling back the horror element and concentrating on the personal cost to the character Cronenberg made a film to be remembered.

  • josé neves's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    35mm, TV re-rating. How i didn't see in this extraordinary film a metaphor for the power to create images and editing them according to fiction's variations? The visionary is the filmmaker who dies by the images (see René Vautier's "Mourir pour des Images") and through it elaborates an architecture of the world. Walken is the most vurnerable of the tormented ones that recent cinema has given us (also with Ferrara).

  • Santropez's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    Cronenberg doesn’t mess around in The Dead Zone. Boam’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel starts off with despair, but shifts to pure evil as Johnny (Walken) wakes from a five year coma. At one point he describes a dream and gets asked “is that what you’re afraid of?”, “it’s what I want” he replies. The film takes some big leaps, but blends the horror into very high quality drama and is definitely a thrill to watch.

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    Profoundly appealing in a melodramatic way, the events of the 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. Parts could be longer for anticipation/suspense reasons, too. However, it admirably has a feeling of suffocating dire ominousness, as one knows it won't end well for this well-meaning hero.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film The Dead Zone

    ***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.

  • Palmat's rating of the film The Dead Zone

    Good thriller from Croneberg's golden age. Walken puts in a great and nuanced performance with brittle sensitivity and doomed intensity. Sheen musters up some genuine menace and craziness worthy a latter-day Nic Cage. Cronenberg's direction is decent considering the sometimes haphazard and disjointed script which reads more like a collection of situations rather than a focused story and character arc.

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