During the 80s you learned to lower your expectations of any Stephen King book that had been turned into a movie, particularly one by producer Dino De Laurentis. The one exception was the thrilling "The Dead Zone", starring a superbly skittish Christopher Walken as a man who has been blessed, or rather cursed, with the ability to see into the future. If you haven't seen this movie, or would love to revisit it, then this new DVD release is the best way to do it.
Picture As with most of Cronenberg's early movies, the style is low in colour, especially with the snowy settings of the movie. The result on video always looked somewhat unpleasant, so the sharp, crisp image on offer here is very welcome indeed.
Sound A gold star goes to the careful placement around the speakers of the music score in this 5.1 mix. It's beautifully done and really adds to the atmosphere of the film. Effects such as the car crash are a little low on bass, but it's a minor point for work like this.
Audio Commentary One If there's one thing that's becoming apparent, it's that most directors deliver lousy commentaries. So, what we have here is a chat between Stephen Jones, author of the "Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide", and Kim Newman, film critic and Cronenberg expert. Both come loaded with information that's imparted in an easy-going and often humorous conversation. Did you know that King wanted Bill Murray for the main part? These and other facts are to be found here, as well as an excellent analysis of recurrent King themes, and a healthy slagging off for most of his movie adaptations.
Booklet TV screens are not built for reading text, and one of the most irritating trends on DVD is to have swathes of interesting notes that you have to peer at on screen. Sanctuary have instead produced a lovely 21-page booklet written by Stephen Jones. There's extensive notes on the film's production history, cast and crew profiles, an article on Cronenberg, plus stills, international poster art, and some pages from the script. One point to note, this release is whole lot better than the US region 1 release, perhaps a reason why this disc is region free.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Technical Features: Scene selection, animated menus, multiple language subtitles, and English captions for the hearing impaired.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.