The Dead Zone

By no means a bad film, just a disappointingly bland and superficial one (1983), in which director David Cronenberg relinquishes the one thing that had always set him apart from his Canadian colleagues: his willingness to follow his intuitions rather than the logic of a script. The film is a crisp, efficient, and very literal adaptation of Stephen King’s best-seller about an accident victim (Christopher Walken) who wakes from a coma with unwelcome psychic powers; Cronenberg and King do their best to make him a suffering Christ figure, but at heart his story is a masochistic fantasy of demanded pity: if I get sick enough, you’ll love me. Cronenberg’s direction is taut and tidy, with no room for the irrational digressions and astonishing twists of his earlier work. He’s become much more polished as a storyteller, but at considerable cost to his art. With Brooke Adams.