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Old 06-27-2004, 04:10 AM
Scored: 10
Views: 7,916
Default Dead Zone, The

Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: September 11, 2000

Released by: Paramount
Release date: 9/19/2000
MSRP: $14.99
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes

Based on yet another best selling novel by Stephen King, The Dead Zone is one of the early film adaptations from a King novel, but still remains one of the best. Paramount has delivered The Dead Zone onto DVD just in time for the Halloween season. Lets take a look at the DVD.

The Story

inline Image School teacher Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) and Sarah Bracknell (Brooke Adams), also a school teacher, are engaged to be married. Their lives are perfect until one night when Johnny crashes into a rolled over milk truck. The accident puts Johnny into a deep comma.

Johnny eventually awakens, discovering that Sarah has married another man and that he now has some magical power. Due to the accident, Johnny has been blessed, or perhaps cursed with the power of "second sight". When he touches someone he has the ability to see into their past and future, both good and bad. He reluctantly uses this power to help the authorities apprehend a serial killer, but when he's shot in the process, coupled with the fact that using his powers seems to drain his body of its life, he decides it's time to ease up on using the power. He moves out of his parents home and begins tutoring kids at a home he's rented.

inline Image When US Senate candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) bumps into Johnny, he makes the mistake of shaking Johnny's hand. Johnny sees a dreadful vision of Greg's future, when he someday becomes president of the United States. Johnny decides to alter this terrible by future by planning an assasination attempt on Greg. He realizes that in all likelyhood he won't survive the assasination attempt, but what he doesn't realize is that Greg isn't as easy a target as he expected. His assasination plans prove not only to be a threat on himself, but also to his loved ones. Will he have to sacrifice them for the greater good of mankind?

inline Image The Dead Zone is another wonderful film adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Sadly, it's also another Stephen King novel that I have yet to read. Just like with Pet Sematary, I plan on reading the novel real soon. I'm interested in seeing if the novel is actually superior to this movie. The Dead Zone isn't really scary, and it's not all that gory, but it is quite thrilling. It's more like a Twilight Zone episode, only better. I found myself developing a strong liking for Johnny; I was definitely sympathizing for him. Also, the "visions" that Johnny has are wonderful, keeping you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. The whole idea of "second sight" and what happens when you try to alter the future is really cool. It's fortunate for us that Stephen King implements the concept so effectively in The Dead Zone.

inline Image The Dead Zone is blessed with a wonderful story and top notch acting. I've always thought that Christopher Walken is a strange, unique looking fellow. This isn't really a bad thing, since it gives him a uniqueness over all the other actors, which is definitely needed for this role. His look and acting are perfect for the part of the tormented Johnny, who is struggling to come to terms with his new power and the loss of his one true love. I also have to mention Martin Sheen, who gives one of his best performances as the crazed, power obsessed Senate candidate. While a strong story is always important, delivering convincing performances is equally important. Martin Sheen and Christopher Walken accomplish this with ease in The Dead Zone.

inline Image It's interesting...you wouldn't think a movie involving both Stephen King and David Cronenberg to be lacking in gore. Don't let that turn you off to this excellent movie. The Dead Zone is a spectacular thriller that shouldn't be missed by any horror fan.

Image Quality

inline Image Paramount presents The Dead Zone in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Another stunning transfer by Paramount! This one is so good I was close to giving it my first A+ rating, but there are a few white specks that appear, and I think I might've observed one or two small blemishes. After saying that, all I can do is praise the transfer. Image is sharp with strong, well defined colors. Flesh tones are well balanced. No grain was evident during playback. I'm extremely impressed with the transfer on this DVD and it's definitely earned its solid A rating.


The Dead Zone is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Rears and LFE have a good amount of activity during some of the action scenes. Definitely a nice re-mix with no distortion at all.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Standard Paramount movie-only release containing a theatrical trailer only. It's unfortunate too, I really would've enjoyed a special edition of The Dead Zone. Director David Cronenberg and writer Stephen King have both done numerous commentary tracks in the past. Given how wonderful a movie The Dead Zone is, I would've loved to have heard their comments on the film.

Final Thoughts

Excellent release here by Paramount. They've given The Dead Zone a high quality audio/video presentation, which we've all come to expect from them. I wish there were some more extras than just a trailer, but we can always hope for something in the future I suppose. If you haven't seen this film definitely give it a rental, as it's a wonderful flick. For fans of the film, you'll be impressed with the presentation on this DVD.


Movie - A-
Image Quality - A
Sound - A-
Supplements - C

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 16 Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • English Dolby Surround
  • French Mono
  • English subtitles

  • Theatrical Trailer

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