Jul 172021

The Dead Zone doesn’t quite enter into classic territory for me, but I did generally find it entertaining thanks to a charismatic enough performance from Christopher Walken who actually plays the lead fairly straight.



The Dead Zone
— Collector’s Edition —

Genre(s): Drama, Horror
Paramount | R – 103 min. – $34.93 | July 27, 2021

Date Published: 07/17/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: David Cronenberg
Writer(s): Stephen King (novel); Jeffrey Boam (screenplay)
Cast: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Martin Sheen

Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, Interviews, Gallery, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 47.45 GB
Total Bitrate: 48.81 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: When Johnny Smith (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed, and he now has psychic abilities. Heartbroken that his girlfriend (BROOKE ADAMS) has moved on with her life, Johnny also must contend with his unsettling powers, which allow him to see a person’s future with a mere touch. After shaking the hand of aspiring politician Greg Stillson (MARTIN SHEEN), Johnny sees the danger presented by the candidate’s rise and resolves to kill him.

Quick Hit Review: The Dead Zone is a movie I had never seen before doing this review, albeit heard of it thanks to the television series. My first viewing is pretty much on par with many of the Stephen King adaptations, meaning it’s mostly well made but not especially memorable, which is kind of strange considering this was directed by David Cronenberg, not exactly known for making standard cinema, and featuring Christopher Walken, not known for playing relatively normal characters, even one with the supernatural telepathic abilities, he’s pretty straight forward. The film itself is engaging enough I suppose and fun seeing Martin Sheen playing a sleazy politician, a far cry from this turn on The West Wing.

Not saying The Dead Zone ranks all that high on my list, comparatively it’s one of the better Stephen King adaptations, albeit behind The Shining which King absolutely hated (no idea what his thoughts were on this). There’s nothing that really stands out except for an interesting premise, but the finale at least does have some tension and a satisfying ending.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and the inside cover is reversible with the film’s original poster artwork.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Director of Photography Mark Irwin
  • Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • Film Historian Michael Gingold
  • Isolated Score

I could be wrong, but I believe all three commentaries are new to this release and each gives different perspectives with the latter two more of an analysis of the story and the first gives an on-location account and the filmmaking process.


  • Sarah’s Story (10:37) — Actress Brooke Adams
  • Cold Visions (20:32) — Production Manager John M. Eckert and Associate Producer Jeffrey Chernov

Trailers from Hell (2:11) —Mick Harris breaks down the trailer for The Dead Zone.

Memories from The Dead Zone (12:19) —Archival interviews with Director David Cronenberg, Actress Brooke Adams and Author Douglas E. Winter.

The Look of The Dead Zone (9:25) — Another older featurette, this time examining the cinematography.

Visions from The Dead Zone (9:44) — A look at translating the visions from Johnny Smith to the screen.

The Politics of The Dead Zone (11:34) — Examines the political aspects of the plot. Includes an old interview with Martin Sheen from 1983 along with archival interviews with Cronenberg and others.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer (2:16), TV Spots (1:05) and a Behind-the-Scenes Gallery (13:10).


VIDEO – 4½/5

The Dead Zone marks its second release on Blu-ray following the 2020 one that came in the 5-movie Stephen King Collection by Paramount. This one boasts, according to the back cover, a new 2020 scan of the original camera negative. I thought this might be the same transfer; however the one from Paramount was shown in 1.78 while this one is the original 1.85 aspect ratio. When doing a comparison, I did find this one to be a bit more pleasant and natural. Unlike the Paramount picture, this one did not have the obvious signs of specs or scratches so it does appear to be cleaner. This one also is a bit better defined with better and more consistent sharpness in many of the close-up shots and the natural film grain is still present.

AUDIO – 4/5

[This portion was copied over from my Stephen King 5-Movie Collection as it does sound either similar or the same and matches what I had written before.]

The film comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which I found serviceable, especially since the bulk of the movie is dialogue driven. There is some modest depth for the crowd scenes during the campaign parts of the movie, including idle chatter and such, but otherwise most everything was generally centrally located.


OVERALL – 3¾/5

The Dead Zone doesn’t quite enter into classic territory for me, but I did generally find it entertaining thanks to a charismatic enough performance from Christopher Walken who actually plays the lead fairly straight, same goes for Cronenberg’s direction. This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray released by Shout Factory is a significant upgrade over the barebones disc Paramount put out last year with bonus features and a better picture.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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