‘The Dead Zone’ is the 1983 film directed by David Cronenberg. Screenwriter was Jeffrey Boam. Based on the novel by Stephen King.
Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) emerges from a coma following a car accident. Grateful to be alive, he’s dismayed to learn he’s lost five years. The love of his life Sarah Bracknell (Brooke Adams) has married and started a family.
More disturbing are new touch activated psychic abilities of postcognition (past), clairvoyance (present) and precognition (future). Smith comes in physical contact with a nurse during her daily rounds.
He immediately has a vision of her child being trapped in a fire. The woman races home. Smith’s warning allowed her to save her daughter. This is how everyone learns about his gifts.
Smith is reluctant to leave the relative safety of the Weizak Clinic. His friendship with founder neurologist Dr. Sam Weizak (Herbert Lom) provides a source of stability.
The paparazzi can’t wait for him to be discharged. All the unwanted attention makes his feel like a freak. After discharge, Smith becomes a recluse. Though at one point, Smith does offer his services to the police.
Sheriff Bannerman (Tom Skerritt) wants to capture a serial killer. They’re able to do so but Smith is shot during the takedown. The former teacher earns income by tutoring kids in his new home. The mailman and students provide him with contact to the outside world.
Then a stranger comes by. Roger Stuart (Anthony Zerbe) wants to hire him as a private tutor. He thinks Smith may be the only person able to reach his emotionally repressed son Chris (Simon Craig). It’s through Stuart that he has his first encounter with Senator Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen).
Who’s campaigning for the Presidency. Stillson and Smith meet again a rally. There he has a vision of President Stillson ordering a nuclear strike against Russia. What should he do?
The good: Perfect casting with fan favorite actors. Felt sorry for Smith. Hoped life would give him a break and that he’d somehow find happiness. But inside knew it would never happen. On the roller coaster, did Smith have a premonition of his own death? Because he did seem a bit freaked out before the migraine.
Was learning Sarah had married someone else trigger his abilities? They weren’t present during his parent’s visit. Smith and Weizak reluctantly acknowledging the abilities are killing him. That unforgettable moment when Stillson used the baby as a shield.
The bad: Didn’t need to be a psychic to see what a whack job Stillson was. We’d totally be screwed if he was President. Henrietta Dodd being okay with her son’s extracurricular activities. How did Weizak know the exact moment when Smith would wake up?
The ugly: The sacrifice Smith made to stop Stillson from triggering World War III.
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