This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-08-29.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> August 2001 >> The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
August 2001
IMDB Name:
Dead Zone, The (1983)
David Cronenberg
horror, suspense
MPAA Rating:


The Dead Zone is either a bit too short, or it's a demonstration of economy of exposition. I don't remember anyone ever accusing Stephen King of being terse, and it's a challenge to distill the plot of a King novel into the length of a reasonable movie. I know I read The Dead Zone years ago, but I remember some things taking much, much longer. The sense of dread and agony surrounding Johnny's power needs a little more screen time to ripen. The movie ticks off its plot points very efficiently, but without the creeping terror in great King adaptations like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Dead Zone's cast is remarkably laden with name actors. Brainstorm was released within a month of Dead Zone, and both feature Christopher Walken as a tortured hero. I found him an uncomfortable fit in both roles, here because he lacks the everyman quality that would make what happens to him truly horrific. Even in his most innocent roles, like Blast From the Past, I have trouble overcoming my conditioning to see him as a creepy instrument of evil. If anything, it's appropriate that his teacher character assigns dark works to his students like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Raven. Martin Sheen gets to cut loose as a politico burning with an other-worldly passion to run the country. Herbert Lom, Clouseau's boss in the Pink Panther series, has a straight role as the head of a clinic. Since this is a movie clinic, the character is able to spend more time with this one patient than someone not saddled with administrative duties.

Copyright 2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.