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The Dead Zone: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

“The Dead Zone” is still one of the best Stephen King movie adaptations.

Based on the novel by Stephen King and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, 1983’s “The Dead Zone” revolves around a man (Johnny) who is seemingly living a happy life. He enjoys his teaching job and he has a girlfriend (a fellow teacher named Sarah) whom he plans to marry. Unfortunately, his life is turned upside down after a car accident that puts him in a coma. Upon awakening, he learns that 5 years have gone by and that Sarah has moved on and gotten married. As if that wasn’t painful enough, he discovers that whenever he touches someone he gets visions of the past or future. Initially, he sees this new ability as a curse, but soon discovers that it is a blessing as he can change the future and save lives. 

Stephen King and David Cronenberg turn out to be a perfect match for “The Dead Zone.” King’s sci-fi drama tale mixed with Cronenberg’s eerie and intense direction work wonders together. Usually, the Canadian filmmaker has a penchant for telling body horror stories and to a degree you could argue “The Dead Zone” is a sort of body horror story of a man who has developed a psychic esque ability. Really though, this is much more of a character study about a man undergoing a complete life overhaul. His old life is gone and has been replaced by a new one in which he can save the lives of people and loved ones. The film is told in an almost episodic fashion due to the segments involving the Castle Rock Killer, the shy smart child Chris, and the dangerous politician Greg Stillson. It’s no surprise that this film went on to inspire an actual “The Dead Zone” TV series as the story definitely lends itself to that. However, the movie version is very much an open and closed story.

What really struck me about ‘Zone’ this time around is just how well it has aged. It feels like a timeless story about the good and bad of humanity. Throughout his journey, Johnny meets kind souls like Sarah and Chris, but also true evil ala Dodd and Greg Stillson.

Speaking of Dodd, Martin Sheen is perfectly unsettling as the power hungry, ambitious politician Greg Stillson. The real star though is Christopher Walken as Johnny. Not only does he give the character so much depth, but he physically commits to the role too. You see the physical and mental pain that he has endured in his post coma life. Brooke Adams also shines as Sarah who also has her own heartbreaking arc.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? This new 2020 scan from original negative is among the best I’ve seen from Shout. An absolutely pristine print.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? From Michael Kamen’s haunting score to the dialogue, these tracks are crisp and clear. 


Extras:
* “The Dead Zone” theatrical trailer and 2 TV spots
* A “Trailers From Hell” segment on “The Dead Zone.”
* New interviews with actress Brooke Adams, production manager John M. Eckert and producer Jeffrey Chernov.
* An archival featurette titled “Memories From The Dead Zone.”
* A new behind-the-scenes picture gallery.
* Isolated score with intro by film music critic Daniel Schweiger.
* 3 brand new commentary tracks- one by DP Mark Irwin, one by film historians Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr, and one by film historian Michael Gingold.
* “The Look Of The Dead Zone” covers the shooting locations.
* “Visions From The Dead Zone” is about the eerie vision sequences.
* “The Politics Of The Dead Zone” revolves around the Greg Stillson character.

July 26, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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