The Dead Zone (1983)

The Dead Zone is easily one of the best novels by Stephen King.  It explores a region of the mind that is not frequently touched upon - psychic ability.  The Dead Zone tells the story of Johnny Smith, a school teacher, who gets into a car accident that sends him into a coma.  When he awakes, he discovers he has developed a great gift; when he touches people, he is able to see their past, present, and/or future. 

When the police force asks him to get involved in finding a serial killer murdering women in his town, he has to decide if seeing the horrific crimes is worth it. 

I probably watched this movie when I shouldn’t have, if we’re being honest.  It has been a film I’ve been excited to watch for a long time, being that I picked up the book about a year ago.  

A little history on the book: it got me through a weird time in my life where I was trying to figure myself out.  I went to a comic book store by my house and found it sad and lonely in a used book bin for $1.  I grabbed it because I saw Stephen King’s name on it, but I didn’t expect it to be a book that was so memorable for me. 

I blew through the book in about 2 days.  The story was entertaining, fun, a little creepy.  So of course, I thought I would give the film a shot. 

I was looking for the film to be exactly like the book, so I was slightly disappointed when things weren’t going in order.  It was distracting for me, and I was so sad that they weren’t at the carnival (for those of you that have read the novel, you know what I’m talking about) during the film.  It’s a part of the novel that really stood out to me.

However, although I was thrown off at the differences between the novel and the film, I truly enjoyed Christopher Walken’s performance as Johnny.  I don’t think there could have been someone that would have played the part of such a sad man better than Walken did.  He made it so enjoyable that I would probably watch it again based on his performance alone.  

Martin Sheen portrays a terrifying politician planning on taking over office as president, and his performance is wonderful as well.  It’s believable and all-around pretty disturbing.  

Overall, I enjoyed the somber and sad story of Johnny Smith.  It’s one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel - it doesn’t overdo it on the unnecessary horror, jump scares, and gore.  It’s subtle and (mostly) realistic, keeping it creepy and a really entertaining film. So here’s my fun rating!

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: .5
Atmosphere: 2
Rewatchability: 1

TOTAL: 7.5/10

In terms of horror films, I typically enjoy something a little bit more “terrifying,” I guess.  However, the story behind this one really makes you think!

Until next time, my ghouls

Taylor Terrible