The Dead Zone (1983)

When I was watching Creepshow this morning, I saw the name of this movie listed on the screen and I decided that this would be a good film to continue the EYG Halloween Horror Bingefest with a film that I have not seen in a long time: The Dead Zone.

After an auto accident, Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) wound up in a coma for five years, altering his life forever. When he awoke, he discovered that he had an ability to see the future.

Christopher Walken is tremendous in The Dead Zone. His performance carried the plot and made the strangeness of the story reasonable. The Dead Zone could have been way over-the-top, but it was grounded and realistic. Walken was a major part of that.

Martin Sheen’s work as the cruel political candidate for Senator was exceptional. It did not take long for me to hate this character, and Sheen embraced that.

The story had several parts to it, which felt almost like an anthology of adventures for Johnny Smith. He was involved with Tom Skerritt as a sheriff trying to stop a killer. He was a tutor to a young kid (Simon Craig) who was having trouble interacting with the world. He was involved in the Martin Sheen story. These all blended together into the story that would become The Dead Zone.

The ending of the Dead Zone hit me hard when I first saw this years ago at a sleep over at a friend’s house. I did not like it at the time because I wanted a happier ending than what was here. At this point, I found the ending extremely satisfying.

I think this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations around.

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