Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reluctant psychic enters 'The Dead Zone'

The Dead Zone (1983)
Starring: Christopher Walken, Tom Skerritt, Brooke Adams, and Martin Sheen
Director: David Cronenberg
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Johnny Smith (Walken) awakens from a five-year coma to discover he has psychic abilities, which he gets visions of the past, present and a terribly deadly future. He uses his new powers to help a sheriff (Skerritt) to solve a murder and to save a life, but his visions tell him that nothing he does will matter unless he manages to stop Greg Stillson (Sheen) from gaining the US presidency--because Stillson will bring about a nucular holocaust.

"The Dead Zone" is one of the very best Stephen King adaptations (and the novel upon which it is based happens to be one of his very best books). The director does a spectacular job, especially in the area of using visuals and sound effects to pull the viewer into Johnny's psychic visions. The cast is also perfect, with Walken really shining as the tragic psychic who wants nothing than to just have his old life back, but who has to face a destiny that is being thrust upon him.

(An amusing side note is that Martin Sheen did become president on the TV series "The West Wing".)

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