After a long coma, school teacher Walken wakes up with psychic powers (but no girlfriend). Depending on your point of view, this is either Cronenberg's most progressive, humanist movie (pace Robin Wood), or one of his least personal, most conventional pictures. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, it's well crafted and atmospheric, with an arresting central character (Walken in one of his most sympathetic and controlled performances), but the episodic plot strands don't really mesh. In the most striking, the teacher unmasks a serial killer; in another he prevents a young boy from drowning; and in yet another his path crosses with a single-minded politician (Sheen). Cronenberg pulls it off, but you can't help feeling it's a movie in search of a TV series.
The Dead Zone
Cast and crew