be honest I wasn't expecting too much from this remade for television
version of Stephen King's novel of the same name, and was in the end
This TV pilot episode of 80 minutes or so, which serves as an introduction
to the TV series on USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel, is quite watchable.
It even makes one want one to check out future episodes since it leaves
enough plot threads -
that would no doubt be addressed in the rest of the
series ? dangling. (The Dead Zone is apparently in its second
season right now.)
The plot involves a teacher who regains consciousness after being in a
coma for six years following a car accident. John Smith ("what's your name
a cop taking a statement from him inquires at one point) finds
that he suddenly has new psychic powers that allows him to see into the
life of anyone he touches. Smith can see into the past and even predict
You might recall that this particular Stephen King novel was made into a
movie starring the one and only Christopher Walken back in 1983. It was a
creepily effective and atmospheric thriller, and in a stunning piece of
precognitive future prediction actually featured Martin Sheen as the
President of the United States ? decades before his West Wing role!
new version stars Anthony Michael Hall. You might probably remember him as
one of the kids in The Breakfast Club
(I think he was the geeky sensitive one, but could be mistaken). Walken is
a tough act to follow, but Hall does OK. I was quite surprised that he
worked out better than I thought he would. The supporting cast is also all
right ? Nicole de Boer (of Cube fame) is always
To be honest I don't watch a lot of television and haven't seen any
episodes of The Dead Zone so I
didn't know quite what to expect of it. As a made-for-TV movie, Dead
Zone is quite watchable once one has decided not to unfairly compare
it to the original movie. Some clichéd situations aside, the acting is
decent, the special effects (including some
Matrix-like shots) and other production values adequate. Some of the
dialogue is quite fresh and funny.
Sure, it can't be compared to the original Dead
Zone movie and if you haven't seen neither of them, then it is obvious
which one I'd rather recommend. But this particular entry won't be a waste
of your time either.
DISC: Since it is represented in a wide screen and not a full screen
(traditional TV) format, Dead Zone doesn't feel like a TV episode,
but rather like a big screen movie. The colours are a bit drab, but in
synch with the story's atmosphere. The sound is crisp and clear and
features some nice stereo at times.
It may seem as if the movie has a lot of extra features, but most of the
stuff included is just promotional fluff.
There are also two trailers for other made-for-TV Stephen King movies,
namely Rose Red
and Storm of the Century. (You access these by clicking on the
Lion's Gate logo on the menu ? an ?Easter egg? or hidden feature common to
all Lion's Gate DVDs I've viewed thus far.)
I haven't checked the audio commentary yet, but apparently it only picks
up after a while so stick with it.
WORTH IT? If you (like me) haven't seen any of the Dead Zone
series yet and are curious, then this is obviously the place to start.
RECOMMENDATION: I wasn't expecting much, but found that Dead Zone
wasn't too bad as far as TV productions go and would probably try to check
out the rest of the series (the complete season one of which has recently
been released on DVD). Who knows? I might just be converted into a regular
viewer here . . .